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Sweden's Left leader calls for Swexit policy to be shelved

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Sweden's Left leader calls for Swexit policy to be shelved
Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt at the party's EU conference in Norrköping on Saturday. Photo: Owe Nilsson/TT
15:48 CET+01:00
The leader of Sweden's Left party is pushing for it to shelve a long-standing call for Sweden to leave the European Union, in the latest example of European parties backing away in the face of the UK's Brexit turmoil.
Ahead a party meeting in Norrköping on the coming EU election, Jonas Sjöstedt said that he wanted his party to officially put its campaign for Sweden to exit the EU on hold, for at least five years.
 
"We have not pushed the demand for an exit actively since 1995, and that's why I believe that we should state that we are not going to push it over the coming five years either," Sjöstedt told Sweden's TT newswire in an interview on Saturday. 
 
In its official party program, the party still commits to campaigning for an exit from the EU. 
 
 
 
Ahead of Saturday's meeting the party's leadership committee has proposed distancing the party from this policy  in its manifesto ahead of May's EU election. 
 
"It is not a part of current policy for us to campaign on the question of EU exit now," the proposal reads. 
 
The party is  split on the issue, however, with the party's Gothenburg wing in particular proposing that that exit policy is explicitly included in the party's manifesto ahead of May's election. 
 
"We see more and more things going in the wrong direction in the European union, and what we said in the referendum has been vindicated," Ana Sussner Rubin, chair of the party in the county of Skåne, told TT. 
 
"People are dying in the sea as a result of the EU's inhumane refugee policies, there's salary dumping, workers are set against workers, and racism is increasing." 
 
The far-right Sweden Democrats last month dropped their policy of pushing a renegotiation of Sweden's terms of membership followed by an in-out referendum, arguing that there was more to gain from pushing for EU reform from the inside. 
 
Sjöstedt warned that far-right parties across Europe were now trying to seize control of the EU parliament, making it more important than ever that the Left Party engages in the EU. 
 
"They are  more united than before ahead of May's election," he said of the far-right parties. "They have set a strategy: 'now we will together take power in the EU'. That must not happen." 
 
 

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