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'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote

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'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
Photo: TT
08:12 CEST+02:00
The former Swedish EU minister, Birgitta Ohlsson, declared that it was 'a morning of sorrow' after British voters opted to leave the European Union on Thursday.
The Leave campaign won the UK referendum on Thursday with a vote of 52 percent to 48 percent, according to the BBC.
 
Voter turnout reached 72 percent with more than 30 million casting in their ballots.
 
Speaking to The Local on Friday morning, Birgitta Ohlsson, Sweden's former Europe Minister, said: "It's a morning of sorrow. The EU will be poorer without Britain, Britain will be poorer without the EU, and Sweden will be poorer when we have lost one of our closest allies for democracy, free trade, market economies and openness. I'm very sad this morning, actually."
 
As to what happens now, Ohlsson was unsure. 
 
"Nobody knows, but we know that the Brits are leaving, we can see how markets around the world are shaking - they like stability, but now we're getting uncertainty. It will be harder for young Swedes to live and work in Britain when they're not part of the European project, trade will probably be affected. It's looking very, very bad."
 
Ohlsson also admitted she didn't know what the future held for British people in Sweden.
 
"Yes, it works in both directions - there are many European countries that don't want to give Britain a free ride, not least in southern Europe, so it won't be a piece of cake, so it won't be easy for them  to negotiate a good deal."
 
The results came in on Midsummer's Eve in Sweden, a holiday which normally sees the Swedes spending the day in the countryside with friends and family, enjoying all the delights of summer. But many predict the vote will hit Britain's closest ally in the EU hard, with the prospect of a Swexit debate arising.

Sweden's prime minister, Stefan Löfven, expressed dismay at the result of the British referendum to leave the EU, but says Sweden will keep working closely with the UK.

"It would have been better, for many reasons, for them to have stayed, but of course we respect their referendum result, the people have made their decision, that's how it is," he told Swedish Radio on Friday morning.
 
Sweden's current minister for EU affairs, Ann Linde, commented on Twitter that she was "disappointed" about the news, saying that it would be "a Midsummer of wilting flowers". But she added that Sweden would "continue to work for a prosperous Europe".

A full 72 percent of Swedes want their country to remain in the EU, according to the most recent survey by major pollsters Sifo. But calls for a 'Swexit' were immediately heard on Friday morning, with the leader of the Left Party demanding a renegotiation of Sweden's EU membership.

The far-right Sweden Democrats also celebrated the news. "Bloody well done, Mr Farage," tweeted the party's press secretary Henrik Vinge in reference to the head of the UK's xenophobic, anti-EU Ukip party.

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