Swedish EU minister says Brexit ball ‘is still in London’s court’

Swedish EU minister says Brexit ball 'is still in London's court'
Sweden's current and former EU minister, Hans Dahlgren and Ann Linde. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Sweden's new EU minister joined other European leaders in saying the Brexit deal was "not renegotiable" after Britain's Theresa May vowed to take her plan back to Brussels.

With two months to go until the day the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, its MPs narrowly passed an amendment, backed by the government, to replace the controversial so-called Irish backstop.

May was given a two-week deadline to coax Brussels into accepting the proposed changes. But she's got a difficult, or even impossible, task ahead of her, judging by the reactions from EU leaders.

“The withdrawal agreement is, and remains, the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union,” a spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

“The backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement, and the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation.”

READ ALSO: Why Britain's European best friend is fretting about Brexit

Asked by Swedish media what the new developments in the UK parliament meant, Sweden's newly-appointed EU Minister Hans Dahlgren said he did not know what his British counterparts wanted.

“We have to ask what this alternative arrangement is. I think the ball is still in London's court,” Dahlgren told Swedish news agency TT after the vote at Westminster.

“This deal is not renegotiable,” he reiterated.

Asked if the British leaders themselves knew how an alternative arrangement would look or if it was just empty talk, Dahlgren said: “I don't know. They have to say that for themselves.”

READ ALSO: Brits in Sweden 'could stay for one year' in event of no-deal Brexit

His comments come a day after Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström blasted Britain's political leadership for having “badly handled” the Brexit process.

“I just think that they've made such a historical mistake and they've really created a problem for all of us,” Wallström said in remarks that were first reported by Politico

“I cannot forgive them for this,” she said.

Are you one of the thousands of Brits living in Sweden, wondering about your rights after the UK leaves the EU? Find The Local's latest Brexit news and analysis HERE and email [email protected] if you want to share your own story.

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