EU becoming ‘straitjacket’ for Sweden – party leader

Sweden has significant reasons to reconsider its EU membership as the bloc is increasing its influence on member states’ internal affairs, particularly immigration policies, the leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Akesson, has argued.

Writing for the Aftonbladet daily in an op-ed published on Tuesday, Akesson claimed that “EU membership is starting to look dangerously like a straitjacket” for Sweden as the balance of power shifts from Stockholm to Brussels.

Akesson has been in charge of the Euroskeptic, right-wing Sweden Democrats (SD) since 2005. The party is currently the second largest in the country.

The MP said that the EU should focus on trade between member states, although he claimed it would be naive to hope for any serious changes in this area in the near future.

Akesson further insisted that Stockholm must “influence the union in a direction that would benefit Sweden to a greater degree,” but suggested that “ominously, the development is going in the wrong direction.”

To back up his case, the SD leader stated that over 60% of all decisions in Swedish municipalities and regions are in some way influenced by the EU. According to Akesson, this demonstrates that foreigners effectively have a greater impact on Swedish legislation than its own MPs.

Within the EU as a whole, Sweden plays a role that is too insignificant, resulting in German, Polish and French policymakers having a bigger say in “what cars you will buy, how expensive the petrol will be, or which trees you will be allowed to cut down on your own land,” Akesson asserted.

He further claimed that the EU wants to increase its clout regarding immigration policies while many Swedes want tighter regulations. “Despite this, today there is an imminent risk that the EU will make decisions that go in the exact opposite direction if we do not act,” the party leader warned.

Immigration has been a hot topic in Sweden since at least the 2015 migrant crisis, when the Nordic country emerged as a major European destination for refugees.

With a population of 10 million people, Sweden received 163,000 and 144,000 migrants in 2015 and 2016 respectively. While those figures fell sharply in subsequent years, as of 2022, foreign-born citizens make up 20% of the nation’s population.

Source: Russia Today