Nationalist leader calls again for ‘Swexit’ referendum

Leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats Jimmy Åkesson has reiterated his party’s support for a “Swexit” referendum on Sweden’s EU membership, in an interview on state broadcaster Sveriges Radio.

Nationalist leader calls again for 'Swexit' referendum
Jimmy Åkesson arrives at a debate arranged by Expressen TV. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT
“The EU is not the way to cooperate in Europe,” he said in an interview with the P1 channel. “My position is that we should renegotiate the terms [of our membership] of the EU and then the people should have its say.” 
The comments mark an unexpected return to the issue of European membership, after the Sweden Democrats’ economics spokesman Oscar Sjöstedt appeared to kick the issue to the sidelines last month, saying the party didn not intend to bring the issue up in post-election talks with other parties. 
Åkesson’s comments come a day after two Sweden Democrat EU politicians posted an opinion piece on the political website titled, “Now we should take the next step on Swexit“. 
“The Sweden Democrats want to leave the European Union,” wrote Kristina Winberg and Peter Lundgren. “We do not want to have some unelected EU Commission, which together with the court and the parliament can bulldoze over member states even if they say ‘no’ the whole way”. 
The pair said that they favoured a renegotiation of Sweden’s membership followed by a referendum. 
“We would rather see a significantly reformed European Union which focuses only on business and the free movement of goods, services and capital, but not people,” they wrote.  But they said they would like the membership to be put to a referendum in any case. 
“The Swedish people should finally take a position on the supranational union which the European Union has become in reality, and not that which the people were sold in 1994.” 
In Åkesson’s interview, he also said that his party would be willing to support a government led by the Social Democrats as well as the centre-right Moderates.
“We have two to choose from as it looks right now,” he said. “Everything comes down to what we and our voters can get out of supporting one or the other.” 
But he said he didn't expect it to join a ruling coalition, as Progress Party has done in Norway. 
“I don't believe that I'm going to be sitting in the government after the election,” he said, but added that he believed the party would have “a significant influence”. 
He also showed signs of softening his position on the actions required to halt climate change, saying that while he recognised that climate change was a real problem, he didn’t thought it was one best solved by investing in cleaning up energy production in  poorer countries.

Member comments

  1. Clean energy is a feel good fallacy. The only terrestrial sink large enough to store all anthropogenic emissions is the soil. Recent advances in the soil sciences has show all anthropogenic emissions can be removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil concomitantly increasing productivity and reducing water requirements. This can be done within 50 years and will continue to store all man-made emissions for another 100 years. By that time, green-energy will really be a reality.

  2. Sweden needs to continue to help strengthen and change the EU from the inside if needed. Just look at Britain to see what a mess and damage is being caused by Brexit. It is a nightmare for people. I know because I am in the nightmare. The EU must exist with strong members to counterbalance the US (Trumpland), China and Russia.
    The problems in the EU can be solved together and Sweden is a great member.

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Sweden Democrat leader calls for ‘reevaluation’ of Swedish EU membership

The leader of the Sweden Democrats reawakened the spectre of Swexit – Sweden leaving the European Union – on Tuesday penning a debate article which called for a reevaluation of membership.

Sweden Democrat leader calls for 'reevaluation' of Swedish EU membership

“With ever increasing instances of far-reaching gesture politics, EU membership is starting to become dangerous like a straitjacket which we have no choice but to simply accept and adapt to,” Åkesson wrote in an opinion piece in the Aftonbladet newspaper

“This means that German, Polish or French politicians can in practice decide over which car you are going to be allowed to buy, how expensive your petrol should be, or which tree you should be allowed to cut down on your own land.” 

As a result, he said there are “good reasons to properly reevaluate our membership of the union”.  

In the run-up to the UK’s Brexit referendum in 2016, the Sweden Democrats called frequently for Sweden to follow the British example and hold a renegotiation of its relationship with the EU followed by an in-out referendum. 

But in 2019, as the UK struggled to negotiate a satisfactory departure agreement, Åkesson changed his position saying that he now hoped to change the European Union from within

In his article on Tuesday, Åkesson said that power was continually being ceded from Sweden to Brussels. 

“The more that happens, the more the will of the people as reflected in parliamentary results is going to be less and less relevant,” her said. “Our Swedish elections are going to soon become irrelevant to Sweden’s development, and of course, we can’t let that happen.”