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Swedish support for EU membership surges following Brexit

Support for remaining within the European Union has grown in Sweden since Britain’s vote to leave, according to a new poll.

A total of 63 per cent of Swedes asked said they would vote to remain if a referendum on Sweden’s EU membership were held today, up from 53 per cent in June, the survey by Swedish pollsters Novus found.

Meanwhile, public confidence in the union itself has surged from 38 to 48 per cent in less than a month, despite the belief in some circles that Sweden might follow the UK out of the EU.

The poll was conducted shortly after Britain voted on June 23, and took in the opinion of 1,000 Swedes aged between 18 and 79.

Sweden joined the European Union on New Year’s Day 1995 following a national referendum in 1994, and has since been one of Britain’s most important allies in dealing with the eurozone.

The country voted against adopting the euro currency during a referendum in September 2003, deciding to retain its native Swedish Krona.

Political scientist Ian Manners lives in Sweden and said Britain’s decision had prompted Swedes to re-evaluate their attitude towards the EU.

“The average Swedish person doesn’t think or care much about the EU, but Brexit brings it to the fore. The UK referendum made a complicated issue real,” he told The Local.

“People in Sweden are suddenly forced to think about what the EU is, rather than just having a vague opinion on it.

“There are political, economic, and social factors at play. The potential for political chaos, for economic trauma, and the possibility of a single-issue referendum on immigration, as happened in the UK.

“Sweden can look at Britain with horror and think ‘what do we have, and what do we not want to have?”

A poll by TNS Sifo in June suggested only 32% of Swedes would want to remain in the EU if Britain left, with 36% in favour of leaving in such a scenario.

Meanwhile, Denmark’s support for remaining in the European Union has reportedly risen sharply since the UK voted to leave, countering fears the Scandinavian nation might be the next country to hold a referendum.

A total of 69 per cent of Danish people endorse the country’s membership of the union, according to a Voxmeter poll – up 10 per cent from the week leading up to the Brexit vote.

The Swedish and Finnish prime ministers have both repeatedly ruled out the prospect of holding referendums in their countries.

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