Sweden Will Side with EU in Brexit

On Tuesday, Sweden’s Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde said that Sweden will ultimately side with the EU against the UK – its longtime ally in EU affairs – if Brexit talks become hostile. “If the UK will ask to let go of freedom of movement of persons, not pay to the EU budget, and not follow the EU court,” said Linde “that will not be a feasible way to conduct negotiations.” This is a harsher stance against the possibility of a so-called “soft Brexit,” which would maintain British access to the common market, than has been previously expressed by Swedish officials.
The Cipher Take: Minister Linde’s statement has further punctured hopes that the UK will be able to exit the EU without fully leaving the European common market. Sweden is Britain’s fourth-largest trading partner and the two countries have often taken the same position on issues of EU trade and regulation. Many in the UK also held out hope that Britain might join the Scandinavian Economic Free Trade Area, which is independent from the EU but linked to the common market. However, Linde’s and similar statements from other Nordic countries suggest that this may not be possible. As Britain’s self-imposed March deadline for exit from the EU approaches, all signs seem to point toward a rocky divorce from the union.


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