Hard-line stance will not ben­e­fit UK, says Swe­den

New Straits Times - - Business World -

STOCK­HOLM: Tak­ing a hard line in Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions will hurt the United King­dom.

That’s the mes­sage from Swe­den, one of Bri­tain’s clos­est al­lies in the Euro­pean Union (EU), just days be­fore Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May trig­gers Ar­ti­cle 50 and starts ne­go­ti­a­tions to leave the bloc af­ter more than four decades.

Ann Linde, Swe­den’s EU af­fairs and trade min­is­ter and the woman rep­re­sent­ing Scan­di­navia’s big­gest econ­omy in Brexit talks, said the UK’s ne­go­ti­at­ing tac­tics were dam­ag­ing its chances of get­ting a good deal.

She also said the EU was show­ing a sur­pris­ing de­gree of unity in its ap­proach.

“They have been re­ally tough on the UK side,” said Linde.

Swe­den had adopted a rel­a­tively con­cil­ia­tory stance to­wards the UK af­ter Bri­tons voted to leave the EU in June.

The coun­try stands to lose a lot if talks break down since the UK is its third big­gest ex­port mar­ket out­side the Nordic re­gion, be­hind Ger­many and the United States.

But Swe­den’s govern­ment warns that the UK can’t ex­pect a deal that pro­vides the ben­e­fits other mem­bers en­joy with­out also ac­cept­ing some costs. What’s more, any agree­ment can’t be al­lowed to leave Bri­tain in a bet­ter po­si­tion than re­main­ing EU mem­bers, said Linde. Bloomberg

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