‘It’s up to member states to make sure Brexit doesn’t end with a crash and no deal’

'It's up to member states to make sure Brexit doesn't end with a crash and no deal'
The UK’s Brexit Minister David Davis (left) med Sweden’s EU and Trade Minister Ann Linde (right) in Stockholm on Friday. Photo: Swedish government/Handout
Sweden's EU and trade minister on Wednesday told the UK's Brexit minister that his country needs to start to bring up more concrete issues for his country's looming divorce with the EU so that member states can start to actually negotiate.

Ann Linde met Britain's David Davis in Stockholm on Wednesday, and had hoped to get some clarification on the type of relationship the UK is seeking to have with the European Union post-Brexit, but was left with few new details. Britain's Theresa May is scheduled to hold a key speech on the issue on Friday.

“It's difficult for the EU to negotiate when we don't have a united stance from Britain. May needs to bring up all the various issues in her speech in a way that makes it possible for us to start negotiating,” Linde was quoted by news agency TT as saying.

Although Linde said that Davis had reassured her that the UK will try to stay as generous as possible regarding the rights for EU citizens living in his country post Brexit, “it's important that these positive and generous words can be transformed into a legal text, otherwise it's not worth much,” she said.

Some 100,000 Swedes live in Britain, according to the latest estimates.

Brits in Sweden will also be keen to find out more about their status. The number of Brits applying for Swedish citizenship has increased sharply since the UK voted to quit the EU in summer 2016.

The ministers also discussed a future settlement mechanism with the EU as well as trade.

“We share the view that an agreement between the UK and the EU must be much broader than the existing trade deals that exist today. Sweden's position is that we want to see what practical problems that need to be solved rather than deciding on steadfast principles,” Linde said.

Linde said that her impression after meeting with Davis was that Britain and the EU are still far apart on this issue.

“It's up to us as member states to make sure that the negotiations become constructive, so that it doesn't end with a crash and a 'no deal',” she said.

Want to know more about Brexit? Sign up to our Brexit & You newsletter!