Nationalist leader calls again for ‘Swexit’ referendum

Leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats Jimmy Åkesson has reiterated his party’s support for a “Swexit” referendum on Sweden’s EU membership, in an interview on state broadcaster Sveriges Radio.

Nationalist leader calls again for 'Swexit' referendum
Jimmy Åkesson arrives at a debate arranged by Expressen TV. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT
“The EU is not the way to cooperate in Europe,” he said in an interview with the P1 channel. “My position is that we should renegotiate the terms [of our membership] of the EU and then the people should have its say.” 
The comments mark an unexpected return to the issue of European membership, after the Sweden Democrats’ economics spokesman Oscar Sjöstedt appeared to kick the issue to the sidelines last month, saying the party didn not intend to bring the issue up in post-election talks with other parties. 
Åkesson’s comments come a day after two Sweden Democrat EU politicians posted an opinion piece on the political website titled, “Now we should take the next step on Swexit“. 
“The Sweden Democrats want to leave the European Union,” wrote Kristina Winberg and Peter Lundgren. “We do not want to have some unelected EU Commission, which together with the court and the parliament can bulldoze over member states even if they say ‘no’ the whole way”. 
The pair said that they favoured a renegotiation of Sweden’s membership followed by a referendum. 
“We would rather see a significantly reformed European Union which focuses only on business and the free movement of goods, services and capital, but not people,” they wrote.  But they said they would like the membership to be put to a referendum in any case. 
“The Swedish people should finally take a position on the supranational union which the European Union has become in reality, and not that which the people were sold in 1994.” 
In Åkesson’s interview, he also said that his party would be willing to support a government led by the Social Democrats as well as the centre-right Moderates.
“We have two to choose from as it looks right now,” he said. “Everything comes down to what we and our voters can get out of supporting one or the other.” 
But he said he didn't expect it to join a ruling coalition, as Progress Party has done in Norway. 
“I don't believe that I'm going to be sitting in the government after the election,” he said, but added that he believed the party would have “a significant influence”. 
He also showed signs of softening his position on the actions required to halt climate change, saying that while he recognised that climate change was a real problem, he didn’t thought it was one best solved by investing in cleaning up energy production in  poorer countries.

Member comments

  1. Clean energy is a feel good fallacy. The only terrestrial sink large enough to store all anthropogenic emissions is the soil. Recent advances in the soil sciences has show all anthropogenic emissions can be removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil concomitantly increasing productivity and reducing water requirements. This can be done within 50 years and will continue to store all man-made emissions for another 100 years. By that time, green-energy will really be a reality.

  2. Sweden needs to continue to help strengthen and change the EU from the inside if needed. Just look at Britain to see what a mess and damage is being caused by Brexit. It is a nightmare for people. I know because I am in the nightmare. The EU must exist with strong members to counterbalance the US (Trumpland), China and Russia.
    The problems in the EU can be solved together and Sweden is a great member.

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Far-right Sweden Democrats top opinion poll in historic shift

The Sweden Democrats party has overtaken the ruling Social Democrats to top an opinion poll for the first time in Sweden, which represents a new landmark for the far-right party.

Far-right Sweden Democrats top opinion poll in historic shift
Jimmie Åkesson has over the past 15 years transformed the Sweden Democrats from a fringe neo-Nazi group. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
According to the latest opinion poll by the Swedish polling company Demoskop, the far-right party — which has its roots in 1990s neo-Nazi groups — now has the support of 24 percent of voters. This compares to just 22.2 percent for the ruling Social Democrats.  
“I'm not surprised,” the party's leader Jimmie Åkesson said after the result was published in the Aftonbladet newspaper on Friday.
“I've long argued we would be the biggest party sooner or later. We've been talking constructively over gang criminality, escalating insecurity, and a migration policy that doesn't work for so many years.” 
This is the first time the Sweden Democrats have been the largest party in any of the five polls carried out for Sweden's main newspapers and broadcasters. 
Lena Rådström Baastad, party secretary for the Social Democrats, blamed the recent spate of high profile shootings and explosions in Swedish cities, as well as the difficult compromises the party had had to make in its January Agreement with the Centre and Liberal Parties. 
“It's a damned tough situation right now, so I'm not surprised when you consider what we've got against us, with gang murders, shootings and explosions. It's us, as a the ruling party, who has to pay the price.” 
Åkesson said that the poll cemented his party's position as the true opposition to the Social Democrat party which has dominated Swedish politics since the 1930s.  
“In the old days it was the Moderates and [former PM Fredrik] Reinfeldt who were challenging them, now it's us,” he said. “It's a welcome shift in Swedish politics.” 
Demoskop's head of opinion research Peter Santesson said that the Moderate Party had lost 1.7 percentage points, shedding support both to the Sweden Democrats and to the Christian Democrats. 
Bloc politics is important in Sweden's system of proportional representation, so even if the Sweden Democrats manage to emerge as the largest party in the 2022 general election, they may still not be able to enter government. 
Instead of combining the parties into the former four-party Alliance group of Moderates, Christian Democrats, Centre Party and Liberals, Demoskop has now started measuring the combined vote of an emerging conservative bloc. 
The Moderates, Sweden Democrats and Christian Democrats now have a combined 49.4 percent, putting them well ahead of the left-liberal bloc of Social Democrats, Green Party, Centre Party and Liberal Party, and close to having a majority. 
But the Moderate Party is split over whether to collaborate with the Sweden Democrats, so it is unclear whether its members would support joining the populists in a coalition government. 
If the new conservative bloc wins a majority, however, the Moderates and the Christian Democrats could instead seek to form a coalition government with the support of the Sweden Democrats, as they tried but failed to do after the 2018 election. 
If the three conservative parties fell just short a majority, the Social Democrats could then conceivably remain in power with the tacit support of the former communist Left Party.
Meeting their demands while also retaining the support of the pro-free market Centre and Liberal parties would however involve a challenging balancing act.