Swedish minister reveals stories of xenophobia towards Swedes in UK

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Swedish minister reveals stories of xenophobia towards Swedes in UK
Sweden's EU affairs and trade minister Ann Linde. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Sweden's minister for EU affairs and trade has relayed stories of xenophobia experienced by Swedes in the UK in the aftermath of the Brexit vote last June.


Ann Linde is in London this week to meet the UK’s Brexit secretary David Davis and international trade secretary Liam Fox, as well as a group of Swedes living in the UK. On Monday she revealed that most of the Swedes she spoke to related stories of xenophobia.

“All but one of them explained they had been subjected to xenophobia,” she told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

A woman who works at a bank in the UK explained to Linde that a colleague told her they had “voted for you to go away”.

“The boss had to send out an e-mail saying that such behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated,” Linde added.

A different Swede told her that she was offered an employment contract at a company with a clause stating that if the employee could not guarantee their right to stay in the country, they could be terminated with immediate effect. Such a clause would be considered discriminatory under EU law.

Swedish women married to Brits also expressed concern about what would happen to them when Britain leaves the EU.

There are around 100,000 Swedes in the UK and 30,000 Brits in Sweden according to the Swedish government. Regarding her meeting with Brexit minister Davis, Linde said he had expressed his “absolute desire that we can find a solution where everyone can stay”.

The Swedish minister also noted that both Davis and Fox made it clear Britain will leave the EU and “most probably” the single market.

British PM Theresa May detailed a 12-point plan for Britain’s departure from the EU during a keynote speech on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: We asked Swedes in Britain what they thought. Here's what they had to say.


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