“The fact that we have put our public finances in order, and have the lowest public debt since 1977 puts us in a good starting position for a scenario where Britain leaves the EU without an agreement,” Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“To handle the consequences of a British exit from the European Union, the government has carried out a string of preparations, including giving public information to companies on the new trading conditions and taking actions to make it easier for private citizens.”
In a press release, Sweden's government said that it believed the risk of Britain leaving without a deal had risen dramatically under new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with the European Commission and the UK still far away from one another on “the decisive question of the so-called backstop”.
The press conference had been scheduled in advance and was held just before the BBC reported Johnson's plans to ask the Queen to suspend the British parliament until October 14th, leaving MPs little time to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on October 31st.
Sweden's EU minister Hans Dahlgren said his government still hoped a deal might be possible.
“We would rather of course that there be an orderly exit, but recent statements from the British government show that they are planning to leave the EU on November 1st, with or without a deal,” he said. “This is serious, and we need to make sure we are also prepared for a hard Brexit.”
Sweden's government said it had been working together both with the EU commission and with other EU member states to minimize the economic impact of Britain leaving without a deal.
But it said that it was inevitable that a hard Brexit would still lead to serious negative impacts.
At the meeting, Dahlgren and Andersson discussed what Sweden's government has done to reduce the impact of a hard Brexit both on Swedish citizens living in the UK and on British citizens living in Sweden.
They discussed actions taken to protect financial markets, and ensure financial stability.
They said Sweden had informed Swedish companies on the new customs rules which will be brought in.
They also discussed the measures that have been taken to ensure that the Swedish Customs Service would be able to handle the increased workload.
Finally, the discussed how Sweden would handle the new rules which would apply to the fishing, aviation, rail, and pharmaceutical industries.