Brexit vote

Sweden wants UK to move quickly towards exit

Sweden wants UK to move quickly towards exit
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after Monday's meeting. Photo: Johanna Johansson/TT
Sweden’s government and opposition want Britain to “take responsibility” and submit a formal application to leave the European Union as soon as possible.

The Social Democrat-Green coalition held talks on Monday with the four-party centre-right Alliance to discuss the fall-out from Britain’s vote to leave the EU. 

“We are in agreement that we respect the decision,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after a hastily convened meeting at his offices in central Stockholm.

“EU rules still apply to the UK and we think they should give notification as soon as possible.” 

He added though that Britain – and the EU – needed some time to deal with the immediate confusion caused by the unexpected result in an unprecedented referendum. 

“But we can’t have the EU in limbo for too long. Now that this decision has been taken in Britain the political leadership has to take responsibility. What’s of concern now is that we’re not seeing any responsibility being taken,” said Löfven. 

Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin described the situation in Britain as chaotic. 

“It’s a serious situation for the UK but also for the EU,” she said. “It’s important now that EU leaders are clear about why the EU is needed.” 

The Prime Minister explained why the Sweden Democrats and Left Party were not invited to participate. 

“The Left Party wants to renegotiate Sweden’s agreement with the EU and the Sweden Democrats actually want a referendum. That’s not what Sweden needs right now. We need responsibility, long-term thinking and stability,” said Löfven. 

Centre Party leader Annie Lööf is eager for Sweden to be active in EU negotiations with Britain. 

“We also need to ensure we continue to have a good relationship with the UK,” she said. 

The UK is one of Sweden’s key export markets and analysts had expressed concern prior to the vote that Sweden would feel the pinch if Britain left the EU. 

Sweden's stock market plunged by almost six percent on Monday, the first day of trading in Stockholm since the British referendum.