The top European Parliament candidate for the populist Sweden Democrats has confirmed that the party changed its policy on wanting to hold a vote to leave the European Union due to the way the Brexit process has unfolded.
Peter Lundgren told Swedish national radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio that the party had previously wanted to look into the possibility of a referendum on EU membership but had changed course, with Lundgren arguing that there was now more of an opportunity for sovereigntist parties to have influence than in prior years.
“As it looks right now, for the first time in history, we have a chance to influence parliament. And I think we should give it a chance first, and if it does not work then we must see. We are a party that changes with the outside world,” he said.
Lundgren admitted that the party had a hard time making real change in the European Parliament in the last five years saying, “During the period that has just passed, things looked like they had been doing for a long time with a very federalist orientation. It feels like sitting in a rowing boat behind an oil tanker and trying to move the rudder and change the course.”
European Parliament’s Own Prediction Sees Populist Surge in May Elections https://t.co/z2XKOd9kX4
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The comments follow others by Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson, who noted the European Union “does its utmost to complicate Britain’s departure”, and due to the policy of punishment pursued by Brussels, his party was rethinking its position on leaving.
The Sweden Democrats are not the only populist party to change course on wanting to either leave the European Union entirely or leave the euro currency.
France’s National Rally, led by former presidential runner-up Marine Le Pen, has also toned down its rhetoric on wanting to leave the political bloc but has still been highly critical, with Ms Le Pen comparing the goals of the bloc to the former Soviet Union.
“Today, the European Union does not have the capacity to send tanks on the streets or to fire on the crowd… Yet the goal is the same: to reduce our political, legal, and [national] identity capacities of resistance,” she said at a rally in Prague.