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Sweden warns UK over risks of EU exit

Sweden warns UK over risks of EU exit

Published: 23 Jan 2013 12:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Jan 2013 12:20 GMT+01:00

Sweden on Wednesday warned Britain it would hold less sway in the world if it quits the EU, after Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to hold an in-or-out referendum if his party wins the next election.

In a series of tweets, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stressed the importance of European Union integration and said Europe needed to stick together and speak with one voice.

"Soon we Europeans will be only seven percent of global population. We can only promote our values and protect our interests if we work together," Bildt wrote on Twitter.

He quoted Cameron's own reference to the weight Britain's voice carries as a member of the EU, where the British leader said: "We are more powerful in Washington, in Beijing, in Delhi because we are a powerful player in the European Union."

Bildt responded "Yes, so far...," seen as a warning that Britain risked losing that influence if it walked away from the 27-member bloc.

Sweden considers Britain a strong ally in the EU, seeing eye-to-eye on a number of key issues. Both countries have chosen to remain outside the eurozone, and both are in favour of sweeping EU budget cuts.

Sweden's EU Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson said on Twitter: "We cant play pick and choose with the EUs future. Its [sic] about committed collaboration."

"I want a useful union not a noncommittal network," she added.

Cameron on Wednesday promised to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 giving British people the choice of staying in or leaving the EU if his party wins the next election.

AFP/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

13:06 January 23, 2013 by skatty
Somebody should say to Carl Bildt that there would not be two world wars if Europeans could work together!

Europeans could never work together.
13:51 January 23, 2013 by RobinHood
I'm sure the Brits wish Mr Bildt, Ms Ohlsson and the Swedish people the best of luck in whatever direction the EU takes in future; whether it be golden prosperity for all, or the waste, economic collapse, rampant corruption and mass unemployment the mismanaged EU project has achieved so far.

And I'm equally sure Mr Bildt, Miss Ohlsson and the Swedish people will wish the Brits the best of luck in whatever direction they elect to take in their referendum in 2017.
14:07 January 23, 2013 by Hisingen
The only Europeans who can work together are those in Brussels, working together to form the EUSSR and raising their own standards of living to obscene levels. Cameron is right in that there is far too much attention being paid to bringing every country in the EU to the same standard, when clearly there are vast differences between them all.

Further, in the ECHR there are un-elected lawyers attempting to set laws that take precedence over national laws. That in itself is too far-reaching.

The inital form of the EU - EFTA would have been a far better setting, dealing - as it did - with trading. Now the eurocrats are wanting a bigger and bigger say in how countries should be run, and wanting an ever bigger budget to do so, without ever producing bookkeeping to show how that budget is being spent.
14:07 January 23, 2013 by BackpackerKev
I guess this guy is panicking for the fact, if UK leave the EU, Sweden doesn't have a big brother to follow at every whim. But on the plus side, for Uk and swedish relations, its another meeting or 100 at the expense of the swedish tax payer.
14:28 January 23, 2013 by jvtx3232
That is the exact wrongest reaction by Carl Bildt. Instead of complaining about Cameron's proposed EU referendum, Sweden should applaud the effort and work toward scheduling an analogous EU referendum of their own. Let the people speak!
14:56 January 23, 2013 by Mib
The EU was created (in peoples minds) to remove the barriers to trade with Europe. Since that time, it has grown into a big fat cat that gets involved in almost every aspect of our lives...some good, some bad. These massive changes were never put to the British people to vote on. It's a mixture of huge migration combined with lack of resources, a weak UK Government who seems to follow every EU rule or misinterpret them to the detriment to the population, a Human Rights law that allows criminals to stay in the country despite not having a British passport and being a massive threat to UK citizens and much more.

The future of Europe is where there are several levels where countries can choose their own level that suits their citizens.The EU is a corrupt organisation which have not had their accounts signed off for several years, bureaucratic, wasting money and even wanting inflation busting rises despite a credit crunch and austerity in most of Europe. People feel deatched from the EU...do not understand how it works and the EU MPs make no effort to change that. Ignorance allows them to pass laws without much fighting. I believe most people in the EU would want some say in how their country is integrated into the EU. But the EU are AFRAID of DEMOCRACY and that is what is at the heart of the problem.
16:36 January 23, 2013 by Rick 1
I listened to SVT1 this morning and became enraged when Birgitta Ohlsson, described my party, UKIP, as "höger extremister". That is a terrible slur and lie, we are not we are a libertarian party, who values freedom, liberty and fairness.

It is highly irresponsible for a Swedish government minister to lie so openly to the Swedish viewers. Would she describe a Swedish party who fights for liberty, freedom and fairness for Sweden also "höger extremister"?
17:17 January 23, 2013 by deenforcer
What kind of influence does the UK have now anyway? No much! They couldn't even extradite a terrorist to the US without the EU said so, is that the kind of influence mr. Bildt was talking about here? France can't even send back the illegal gypsies to eastern europe, because the EU wouldn't let it, is that the kind of influence we all want here?

"Soon we Europeans will be only seven percent of global population. We can only promote our values and protect our interests if we work together," Bildt wrote on Twitter." Work together is one thing, surrender your sovereignty is another, why europe is getting stupid all of a sudden?

Somebody please tell this fool that it's not the number of people that gives you the power and influence, it's money and technology! Case and point, Israel vs arab world, USA vs China and India, 330 million americans vs 2.5 billion Chinesindians, which one is stronger and more powerful?
18:13 January 23, 2013 by Steve Potts
The people of the UK voted to join a Common Market NOT a European superstate. Time to get some powers back to an elected UK parliament. Because there is a trade inbalance between the EU and the UK in favour of the EU it will happen or the UK will leave and quickly get a free trade agreement. It's a win win situation.
21:57 January 23, 2013 by jvtx3232
"Would she describe a Swedish party who fights for liberty, freedom and fairness for Sweden also "höger extremister"?"

Rick 1: Unfortunately that is par for the course for extreme left politically-correct militants. They are already calling the Sverigedemokraterna "extreme right" in Sweden.

It's just one example of the key words or code words used by the militantly politically correct in order to try to shut down debate and cast their opponents as people who are not worthy of inclusion in the debate.

"Right-wing extremist," "Islamophobe," "homophobe," etc. etc. ad nauseum are the kind of meaningless intellectually dishonest political neologisms they are wont to shamelessly cast about.
22:02 January 23, 2013 by Will1
So many ignorant people here. Least of all @Hisingen, the ECHR is not part of the EU, do some reading before you make such comments.

Instead of criticizing those who are for progress and for a unified, strong EU Federation you should put that energy towards ensuring it is done with transparency, protecting the rights of every EU citizen no matter what state they are from and most of all insure that those corrupt individuals who would like to subvert this process for personal gains never get the chance.

Even if the UK has a referendum and just over 50% want to get out of EU, it is wishful thinking that it is ever going to happen. The UK has a lot more to loose getting out than staying in, and Cameron knows it, this whole referendum is just a PR ploy to get the votes from the ignorant and uneducated who may be swayed by political rethoric.
22:05 January 23, 2013 by B.olesen
@rick 1 - so what is else is new about Swedish politicians openly lying? Is their mouth moving?

Carl Bildt - what European solidarity at the EU ideals forced upon us? The only solidarity is within the elitists, and if Europe is shrinking, it's not for lack of mass EU enforced immigration.
22:23 January 23, 2013 by riose
To put this into context, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Estonia, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia just approved the Tobin Tax.
07:26 January 24, 2013 by deenforcer
The way I see it, if you want to free your nation from this money, power and sovereignty sucking machine called the "EU", then you have to do it the old fashion way, there are no other ways around it, period! Forget about the ballots, forget about the referendum or negotiation or whatever, they simply don't allow it. Just do it the old fashion way, remember, no pain go gain. The same goes to the right-wing parties accross europe.
10:45 January 24, 2013 by Kronaboy
Naturally Sweden is worried, if the UK were to withdraw how many UK nationals would lose their right to reside, I would say several hundred and how many Swedish nationals who have taken advantage of UKs open and fair employment and social security provisions would lose their right to reside, from my rough estimate I would say about 100:1. I was talking to a young Swedish lad of Somali origin the other day, his mother realising due to the disgraceful levels of nepotism and discrimination that she had no chance of gaining employment in Sweden; she used her Swedish passport and migrated to the UK where she trained in the medical profession and worked for several years in the NHS earning a substantial income. I then asked this lad how many of his fellow Somali's had migrated from UK to Sweden, his answer was apart from him none, I then asked how many of his fellow Somali's that he personally knew had migrated from Sweden to UK, he replied hundreds. The way I figure it, if the Nepotism and discrimination we UK nationals are subject to in Sweden is typical of the EU as a whole then good riddance to bad rubbish, lets kick out the 3million + EU nationals we have in the UK and reduce our unemployment level to 0.
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