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Brexit would thrill Putin and Le Pen: veteran Swedish MEP

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Brexit would thrill Putin and Le Pen: veteran Swedish MEP
Gunnar Hökmark says Europe's "dark forces" would benefit from Brexit. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
08:21 CEST+02:00
Fear of an EU without Britain is growing among Swedish members of the European Parliament in Brussels.

Liberal MEP Jasenko Selimovic shook his head at the thought of a Leave vote on June 23rd. 

“If the avalanche starts I don't know where it's going to end,” he told news agency TT. 

His concerns were shared by Moderate Party veteran Gunnar Hökmark, who said Britain leaving would “put wind in the sails of the darkest forces in Europe”. 

“Putin would be very happy - he'd like to see a divided Europe. And Marine Le Pen would be very happy,” he said. 

Social Democrat MEP Marita Ulvskog said a separation would be painful for Sweden. 

“In the worst case we might come under pressure to join the euro.” Sweden, like Britain, has no plans to adopt the common European currency.  

And even politicians with parties traditionally opposed to the European Union expressed concern.

“We don't like the EU, but we dislike nationalists and racists even more,” said the Left Party's Malin Björk, who was referring to the UK Independence Party (Ukip), a driving force behind the Leave campaign. 

Soraya Post, the Feminist Initiative's first ever MEP said: “I'm not really a friend of the EU, but the longer I've been here the more I've realized that its necessary in terms of peace, equal rights and gender equality.”

Of the Swedish politicians interviewed, Peter Lindgren from the nationalist Sweden Democrats was the only one hoping for a win for the Leave side. 

“It's an exciting time,” he said. “Sure there will be consequences if England leaves but it's like everything else - we'll handle that then.” 

With less than a week to go until Britain goes to the polls the result is on a knife edge. 

Bookmakers Ladbrokes and Betfair predict a win for Remain, but a YouGov poll this week showed Leave in a seven percentage-point lead. 

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