The leader of the populist Sweden Democrats Jimmie Åkesson has demanded that the government grant the people of Sweden a referendum on whether or not to remain in the European Union (EU) following this year’s national election.
Mr. Åkesson also criticised the political bloc in his interview with Swedish financial website Dagens industri, saying the EU had become “a major force of corruption where nobody has control over anything”.
“We see no point in joining a political union that the EU has become,” Åkesson said.
He noted that the amount Sweden would have to pay into the bloc would increase due to the loss of the 100 billion Swedish Krona (£8.49bn/$11.2bn) a year that Brexit Britain was previously paying into the EU.
While Sweden currently pays 40 billion Swedish Krona (£3.4bn/$$4.5bn), that amount is estimated to increase by another 15 billion (£1.3bn/$1.7bn) after the UK leaves the EU, according to government estimates.
“We pay a lot of money and get a little bit back. But the main reason is ideological: We will not be in a supranational union. We will, of course, cooperate with other countries and trade with countries in our area, but we would see no point in joining a political union as the EU has become,” Åkesson said.
The SD leader also defended the nation-state and nationalism calling it the fundamental building block of Sweden and Swedish society, lamenting that decades ago the idea of the nation-state had been abandoned.
The call for the Swedish exit, or Swexit, from the European Union, comes after several other European countries have expressed similar desires to see future referendums on the matter including in Denmark, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands where opposition MP Geert Wilders pushed the issue last year during the Dutch national election campaign.
Wilders had made reference to the former USSR saying: “Brussels — of course, you cannot compare it with the Soviet Union — but at the end of the day it is a totalitarian, Soviet-like institution.”