Nine in ten Swedes fear Brexit would hurt the EU

Nine out of ten Swedes believe that it would hurt the European Union if its closest ally Britain left.

Nine in ten Swedes fear Brexit would hurt the EU
What do Swedes think of Brexit? Photo: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda/Natacha Pisarenko

A major survey carried out by US-based Pew Research Centre suggests that Sweden, by an overwhelming margin, is the European nation most convinced that a British departure would seriously hurt the union.

Pollsters asked nine key players – Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Poland, Greece, France and Italy – how they thought a British yes to Brexit in its June 23rd referendum would affect the EU.

A total of 89 percent of Swedes quizzed said it would be a “bad thing” if the UK votes to leave, compared to 75 percent of people in the Netherlands and 74 percent in Germany. Conversely, 32 percent of the French and 23 percent of Italians said they thought it would be a “good thing”.

The result is more striking than a similar poll carried out on behalf of the Dagens Nyheter newspaper last month, which suggested that three quarters of Swedes believed a Brexit vote would negatively affect the EU.

“Culturally, the Brits have their biggest fans in the Nordic countries. You could say that Scandinavians are so in love with British culture that we sometimes find it difficult to see the flaws that do of course exist,” Per Tryding, deputy CEP of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden, wrote in an opinion piece for The Local earlier this year.

READ ALSO: This is why Sweden and the Nordics fear Brexit

Public opinion on the EU however is split in Sweden, with 54 percent telling the Pew poll they had a “favourable” view of the institution, compared to 44 percent declaring an “unfavourable” view.

The survey suggested further that Swedes aged 35-49 are the most likely to back the EU (six out of ten in the age bracked said they did), with 56 percent of people aged 18-34 and 51 percent of over-50s telling pollsters they were in favour of the union.

“If the British leave, Euroscepticism in Sweden will grow. I’m worried we’ll end up in a Swexit debate,” political commentator and Moderate Party politician Ulrica Schenström told The Local in April.

The survey also found that the EU enjoys more support in Sweden by people who place themselves on the right of the ideological spectrum, similar to Spain, but unlike the UK, Italy and the Netherlands.

However, despite largely being in favour of the EU, Swedes displayed strong disapproval with how the union has handled the most pressing issue in recent times: last year's refugee crisis, which is still being felt across the continent. Some 88 percent of Swedes said they disapproved of the way the crisis is being dealt with. 

Sweden took in 163,000 asylum seekers last year, and Swedes from both sides of the political spectrum have previously criticized the way the EU has handled the record influx, with some arguing other nations should have taken in more refugees, and others saying the union should have tightened its outer borders.

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Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.