Löfven: Brexit a wake-up call to EU

Sweden’s prime minister has said the UK’s decision to leave the EU should serve as a reminder to the union’s leaders about the importance of demonstrating how European cooperation makes a difference to ordinary people’s lives.

Stefan Löfven was speaking after the leaders of the remaining 27 countries in the EU met to discuss the path forward in the wake of the referendum.

In a joint statement following the informal meeting, the remaining countries said negotiations about the terms of the UK’s relationship with the EU would only take place once it had begun the formal process of leaving – invoking Article 50. Leaders of the Leave campaign had hoped to start informal negotiations.

The statement also said that if the UK wanted to remain part of the single market it would have to abide by all of the union’s four freedoms – including freedom of movement.

Löfven said he agreed, and stressed the referendum result should serve as an alarm clock to the remaining countries of the EU.

“It’s not possible to press snooze without acting,” he said following the meeting.

“We need a Europe that works and delivers and focuses on issues where people expect us to deliver results. That includes, among other things, joint responsibility for refugees and, not least, to create jobs and do it with decent wages and conditions.”