EU on brink: Sweden ‘missing UK’s political clout’ as Swexit row deepens Brussels’ crisis | World | News

Eurosceptic party calling for ‘SWEXIT NOW’ leading polls

Brussels has been embroiled in days of political infighting as its botched handling of the coronavirus vaccine rollout sparked anger across its member states. The European Commission, headed by President Ursula von der Leyen, put a temporary measure in place to restrict the exports of vaccines produced in the bloc amid an ongoing row with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. It claimed it is concerned about how some manufacturers within the bloc had been handling orders, while AstraZeneca told the bloc it would not be able to supply as many vaccines as expected to the EU, at the present time.

The row deepened after Ms von der Leyen admitted the bloc’s approach to the vaccine rollout had been wrong, as she said the EU had been slow in dishing out jabs.

She told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung “a country can be a speedboat” for vaccines, but “the EU is more like a tanker”.

Widespread condemnation has followed throughout Brussels, particularly as the UK has managed to secure a much higher vaccination rate for its citizens.

It has also developed more calls from nations looking to follow the UK out of the EU, with eurosceptism on the rise in nations such as Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden.

EU on brink: Sweden ‘missing UK’s political clout’ as Swexit row deepens Brussels’ crisis (Image: GETTY/YOUTUBE)

EU vaccine rollout: Ursula von der Leyen has been criticised

EU vaccine rollout: Ursula von der Leyen has been criticised (Image: GETTY)

Sweden, in particular, has been previously vocal in its warnings to the bloc, and that should the UK prosper as a result of its departure, more and more member states could opt to break away.

This included Cathrine Danin, a senior analyst from Swedbank – a leading financial institution in Stockholm – who explained without the might of the UK backing Sweden, and other Nordic nations such as Denmark, anti-EU sentiment would only continue to grow.

Writing in a 2016 research report for Swedbank – just before the UK’s referendum on its EU membership – Ms Danin argued Sweden’s influence will drain away, and it could be pressured to move inside the dreaded eurozone.

She said: “If the UK leaves the EU, non-euro members’ influence in the decision-making processes will be reduced. Furthermore, the interests of non-euro members will have less weight.

JUST IN: EU crisis: Brexit could spark ‘resurgence of Euroscepticism’ in Sweden

Swexit row: Cathrine Danin from Swedbank

Swexit row: Cathrine Danin from Swedbank (Image: YOUTUBE)

“Unlike the UK and Denmark, Sweden does not have a formal opt out from adopting the euro. In addition, Sweden already participates in the other two parts of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) cooperation.

“Although the likelihood of Sweden joining the eurozone is low, the pressure would increase if the UK leaves the EU.”

Ms Danin added: “Nevertheless, Sweden would lose political clout given a Brexit… without the UK, Sweden would lose its most important ally in the EU and the possibility of getting important issues through the system would diminish.”

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Brexit: Five key moments in UK leaving EU

Brexit: Five key moments in UK leaving EU (Image: EXPRESS)

She also advised “support for continued Swedish membership in the EU has declined” and if Brexit were achieved “we expect demands for Sweden to also exit the EU”.

Sweden and the UK’s relationship has blossomed during their time together in the bloc, with both voting together on 88 percent of EU measures between 2009 and 2015.

Famously, they also led a remarkable charge to secure the first ever EU budget cut back in 2013.

But with the UK now gone, the likes of Stockholm and Denmark have “lost a valuable ally in EU decision-making”, political scientist Simon Hix warned.

Brexit news: Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson

Brexit news: Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)

He helped produced research on British and Swedish voting trends, and argued they were “closely aligned” in key voting decisions in 2016.

This view was echoed by Per Tryding, the deputy chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden, who added in a piece for The Local that year: “The UK is one of Sweden’s most important trading partners and Brexit would over time erode that relationship to the cost of billions for both parties.

“We have very extensive trade with the UK, as well as considerable exchange in services.”

How Brexit was covered by Daily Express

How Brexit was covered by Daily Express (Image: EXPRESS)

In 2016 there was an appetite for Swexit, as a poll by TNS Sifo found that 36 percent would be in favour of quitting the EU, while 32 percent were against.

Similarly, nine in 10 people also felt that the UK leaving the EU would be a bad thing to happen to the bloc – and for Sweden.

Sweden’s then-Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallstrom warned at the time a vote for Brexit “could break up the entire union”.

Speaking on the BBC’s This Week’s World, the Swedish Social Democratic Party member said: “That might affect other EU member states that will say, ‘Well, if they can leave, maybe we should also have referendums, and maybe we should also leave.”

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