Sweden’s far-right party leader Jimmie Akesson has called for a referendum on exiting the European Union after September’s election.
According to opinion polls, however, the number of Swedes who actually advocate leaving is below 20%. And, Akesson’s Sweden Democrats are even mixed about the idea.
“There’s a public majority in favour of the EU and we respect that,” said Ulla Andersson, a key official for the Left Party, which has supported the Social Democratic-led government over the past four years. “If there’s eventually a public majority against the EU then we’ll decide on it then.”
As reported by Bloomberg, public opinion has changed quickly and surprisingly in the past. Key examples include the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump in the US. The Sweden Democrats are also emerging as a power broker, and could win more than 20% of the vote in September, after barely making it into parliament for the first time in 2010.
“The big concern isn’t if there was to be a referendum, the big worry is that we have a large party that wants Sweden to leave the EU, without mentioning the enormous economic consequences that would have for Sweden,” said Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson.
“To leave the EU, stop paying and still have access to the single market, that will never happen,” she said. “To try and give that impression is not being honest with the Swedish people.”