Former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has slammed a proposal by the populist Sweden Democrats to hold a referendum on European Union membership calling the prospect of a vote “dangerous”.
The former leader of the Moderate Party called the proposition of an EU membership referendum, which was advocated by Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson last month, as, “not just a bad idea, it’s a dangerous idea”, Aftonbladet reports.
“Firstly, the EU has a major impact on political stability in most of Europe. Secondly, it is crucial to our economy. The single internal market is crucial for a foreign trade-dependent nation like Sweden,” Bild said.
Claiming that the Sweden Democrats wanted to throw the country into the same situation as the UK after the Brexit vote, Bildt said: “It’s the single biggest danger to Sweden’s prosperity development in the future.”
Mikael Eriksson, who serves as the Sweden Democrat leader’s chief of staff, rebutted, saying: “Carl Bildt’s negative attitude to a Swexit is not unexpected, it was largely his government that was pushing for EU membership.”
Swedish Populist Leader Calls for Referendum on EU Membership in Next Four Years https://t.co/03Xh1Yb4FL
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Eriksson also brought up the fact that Bildt had campaigned for Sweden to join the euro currency which Swedish voters rejected.
“We do not believe in the supranational union that the EU has developed into, where more power is moved from individual member states to bureaucrats in Brussels. Even Carl Bildt should be able to see that today’s EU is something other than what we once joined,” Eriksson added.
The populist Sweden Democrats currently top polls ahead of this year’s national election, and are seen by many as the leading party on immigration issues, with Åkesson winning a televised leaders debate earlier this year.
Other European parties are considering a potential exit from the EU including those in the Czech Republic, Denmark, and the new populist Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said the political bloc may not survive in its current form in the next year.