Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson has said that Sweden is paying an «enormous amount of money» for the EU cause and getting «overwhelmingly little» back, promising to hold a UK-style referendum after the 2018 general election.
The Sweden Democrats (SD) have called for a referendum on Sweden’s membership in the EU, which SD leader Jimmie Åkesson called a «hotbed of corruption, where no one has control over anything» the newspaper Dagens Industrireported.
«We pay an enormous amount of money and get overwhelmingly little back. But the main reason is ideological: we should not be in an ideological union,» Åkesson explained.
Jimmie Åkesson stressed that he is not against cooperating with other European countries or being part of the EU’s internal market. However, he is against doing this on the EU’s terms «at all costs.» Speaking of costs, he stressed that Sweden’s EU tax over the past few years has hovered at SEK 25-35 billion per year, but could reach as high as SEK 39.5 billion next year.
The Sweden Democrats first opened up for a UK-style «Swexit» referendum following the historic Brexit vote in the summer of 2016.
«The total unwillingness to ensure Sweden’s best interest is likely to put us in a position where we are bound by the constitution to continue our participation in the EU,» Åkesson wrote in an opinion piece in Expressen in July 2016.
The Sweden Democrats are currently the only party in Sweden actively lobbying for a departure from the European Union, bar Alternative for Sweden, a recent more right-wing party founded by former Sweden Democrats who believe their mother party doesn’t go far enough. In a recent poll by national broadcaster SVT, the SD received support of 21.9 percent of respondents, effectively becoming Sweden’s second largest party behind only the ruling Social Democrats, whose support plummeted to 23.8 percent. Even if the actual vote plays out this way, the Sweden Democrats will have a hard time pushing the referendum through parliament.
Meanwhile, Swedish support for EU membership actually appears to be growing following the Brexit vote, with a major poll earlier this year showing that 53 percent of Swedes generally favor membership (up from 49 percent in 2016) while the proportion of people critical of the union dropped to 18 percent (down from 23 percent) in the same time period. In the same poll, only 17 percent of Swedes said it would be a good idea to leave the EU, while 57 percent said it would be a bad idea.