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Sweden and Denmark UK's 'closest allies' in EU voting
The Swedish, British and Danish flags. Photos: Martin Jakobsson/Image Bank Sweden; Frank Augstein/TT; AP File

Sweden and Denmark UK's 'closest allies' in EU voting

The Local · 20 Apr 2016, 16:29

Published: 20 Apr 2016 12:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Apr 2016 16:29 GMT+02:00

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The report, put together by international NGO VoteWatch Europe, shows that Sweden, The Netherlands and Denmark are currently the UK's closest allies when it comes to voting on European policies.
 
Sweden was in sync with the UK in almost 89 percent of all votes, closely followed by the Netherlands at 88.5 percent and Denmark, which sided with the Brits in 88 percent of votes, according to VoteWatch's figures.
 
"The evidence from the voting records in the EU Council and the European Parliament suggests that the British government and British MEPs are closely aligned with the Swedish and Danish representatives in these two institutions," one of the report's authors, political scientist Professor Simon Hix, told The Local following its release on Wednesday.
 
"Hence, if the UK leaves the EU, Sweden and Denmark will lose a valuable ally in EU decision-making,” he argued.
 
However, while the figures initially seem high, a closer analysis reveals that most other European member states also shared the UK's perspective in at least 85 percent of votes. Poland, Croatia, Austria and Germany were the only exceptions, but still agreed on at least 83 percent of all occasions.
 

Sweden and the UK are closer than you might think when it comes to voting on EU policies. What do Swedes think of Brexit? Photo: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda/Natacha Pisarenko
 
Nevertheless the report comes amid growing jitters in the Nordics regarding the potential fallout if the UK leaves the European Union following its upcoming referendum.
 
"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," Per Tryding, deputy CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden, wrote in a debate article for The Local earlier this year.
 
"We have very extensive trade with the UK, as well as considerable exchange in services,” he argued.
 
Many of The Local's international readers have also said that they are stressed about how a Brexit could impact on their ability to work and live in Sweden.
 
Meanwhile some campaigners have argued that Stockholm should be preparing to capitalise on a 'no' vote in the UK, by seeking to strengthen its position as an alternative hub for European headquarters.
 
A poll released earlier this week suggested that support for the European project is on the wane in Sweden, with only 39 percent of voters saying they think it's a 'good idea' that Sweden is in the European Union, compared to 59 percent in autumn 2015.
 
The same survey also suggested that Swedes would be more likely to back 'Swexit' in the event of the UK leaving the 28-member bloc first. 44 percent said they would currently vote for continued EU membership, if there was a referendum in Sweden, dropping to 32 percent following Brexit.
 
The UK's referendum takes place on June. British voters living abroad can vote by post, in person or nominate someone else to cast their ballot, as long as they have registered online by June 7th.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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