The leader of the anti-mass migration Eurosceptic Sweden Democrats party says he would welcome a Brexit result in the upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU), and hopes it would lead to a similar vote in Sweden.
Jimmie Åkesson was debating against the Liberals’ Jan Björklund on Swedish broadcaster SVT’s ‘Agenda’ programme when he made the comments on Sunday night, reports Expressen.
With the Sweden Democrats themselves longtime backers of Swedish independence from the EU, Mr. Åkesson said that in contrast to former Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, he welcomes the prospect of the United Kingdom voting to leave the EU in June, adding:
“I really hope we eventually get the opportunity to hold a referendum in Sweden.”
Mr. Reinfeld had previously argued that Sweden would be hurt badly by the effects of Brexit , warning: “Within the EU, our opinions, which correspond with Britain’s with regards to trade, the EU’s internal market, budgetary matters and the condition for living without adopting the euro, will sharply lose their value.”
Arguing that leaving would be the best option, Mr. Åkesson said he sees the EU as an unwanted federation that takes power from national parliaments, and that he could not see a single positive thing about membership, concluding:
“I see nothing negative in leaving the supranational European Union.”
After the televised debate Mr. Åkesson lent his support to the current front-runner in the U.S. Republican Party’s presidential candidate nomination race. Donald Trump has previously used Sweden as a cautionary example of the effects of immigration, to which some Swedes took offence, but the Sweden Democrats leader endorsed his views.
“I agree with Trump that we should reduce immigration, reinforce border controls and keep better track of who is coming into our country,” Mr. Åkesson said, explaining: “It leads to a bad reputation abroad, with the world’s foremost superpower looking at Sweden as a great joke.”