Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was tight-lipped on the agenda, but key opposition figures highlighted the country’s strong bonds with the UK and wanted the EU to give Britain time to digest the result before taking action.
“It’s a serious situation and it’s important to stay calm and not force the issue,” said Karin Enström, the former defence minister who represented the Moderate Party at the prime minister’s office.
“They have had a referendum with a result that has caused major political disarray. They need to be able to take it all in before deciding what the next step should be. Of course we need to able to make demands from them, but only a few days have passed since the referendum,” she said.
Ebba Busch Thor, the head of the Christian Democrats, opposed calls for the EU and Britain to rush into exit negotiations.
“There is no clear way of doing this, it has never happened before, and I note that there are voices being raised saying it should go as quickly as possible and that Britain should be punished in various ways,” she said, adding:
“The UK is our friend and we have to respect the decision that was made.”
Centre Party leader Annie Lööf is keen for Sweden to play an active role in the EU’s negotiations with the UK.
“I favour a responsible exit process. I think Angela Merkel’s line — not to rush but to wait for the UK to gather itself — is sensible.”
Aside from the Prime Minister, Sweden’s Social Democrat-Green coalition government was also represented at the talks by the finance minister, Magdalena Andersson, and Isabella Lövin, recently appointed as joint leader of the Green Party.
The Sweden Democrats and the Left Party were not invited to participate.