Sweden’s foreign minister Margot Wallstrom has warned that Britain voting to leave the European Union (EU) would cause a domino effect of other nations asking for preferential treatment, which would lead to the breakup of the EU itself.
Ms Wallstrom told the BBC that if Britain leaves the EU she fears there will be a “spillover effect” of other EU member states wanting more sovereignty, leading them to demand referendums and preferential terms. Such an effect, she said, would be “unfortunately felt, deeply felt. It would be bad either way”.
Ms Wallstrom worried that if the UK voted to leave, other countries could follow.
“That might affect other EU member states that will say: ‘Well if they can leave, maybe we should also have referendums and maybe we should also leave,” she told the BBC’s This Week’s World programme.
The Swedish minister suggested that even if Britain votes to remain in the EU, the result will be bad for the Union:
“If they stay, it might also lead to other countries saying: ‘Well, they negotiated, they asked and demanded to have a special treatment so why shouldn’t we?'” she said.
Ms Wallstrom also raised the implausible prospect of Britain and Sweden not being able to trade with one another in the event of Britain leaving the EU. She told the BBC she hoped Britain would vote to stay in the political and economic bloc because it’s an important trading partner for Sweden and there are around 90,000 Swedes living in the UK. She said, “It will be just a matter of insecurity, and industries don’t like insecurity,” she said.
Last year Wallstrom, a staunch feminist, cancelled a controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia and criticised its human rights record. In response, the Kingdom recalled its Stockholm ambassador and accused Sweden of “Islamophobia”. In response, Sweden’s Minister for Culture and Democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke, promised a new “national strategy against Islamophobia”.