After the referendum on European Union (EU) membership for the United Kingdom (UK) resulted in 52% voting to “Leave” against 48% voting to “Remain” many wondered about the possibility of contagion to other EU member states with Sweden mentioned as a possible candidate for “Swexit”. A poll conducted by Sifo on 20 April found that 36% of Swedes would want to leave the EU and only 32% of respondents would want to remain if Britain opted to exit the EU. More recent polls, including one that took place after the UK referendum, find that a majority of Swedes would like the country to continue as a member of the EU.
While these results suggest that Swedes would opt to stay within the EU, last week’s events in Britain (and existing research from other countries) suggest that the EU is a divisive issue. It creates tensions amongst voters, representatives and within political parties. In this post we explore to what extent European integration causes similar intra-party tension in Sweden. Are Swedish parties internally divided on the issue of EU integration?