EU exposed as Sweden’s GDP ranking falls upon bloc membership

Sweden slams EU on call for states to determine minimum wage

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Sweden agreed to join the EU 27 years ago. Before the country’s accession to the bloc, however, it was a member of the European Free Trade Association and also had become a member of the European Economic Area. Despite the country’s long-standing relationship with the EU, either as a member or trading partner, Sweden has always been painted as a European outsider.

Swedes have long been divided on the issue of further EU integration and public opinion on Brussels has been highly sceptical since membership. 

Since Sweden agreed to join the EU on November 13 1994, they have gone from having the world’s 20th largest economy to the world’s 23rd.

Figures from 2019 show Sweden to have a GDP of $530.88 billion (£395.74), which puts them below Thailand who has the 23rd largest economy, and a place above Belgium.

Sweden has a high standard of living with a mix of free enterprise as well as a generous welfare state.

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The country’s manufacturing economy relies heavily on foreign exports, including machinery, motor vehicles and telecommunications.

However, the country has also taken in a large number of new immigrants and faced a challenge integrating them into Swedish society and the labour market. 

Sweden has never adopted the euro currency while their position as an outsider has led to friction among EU member states.

Meanwhile, despite the Government’s desire for Sweden to be a good EU nation with a mixed portfolio, the country has seen an emergence of an influential far-right anti-immigration and anti-EU political party ‒ the Swedish Democrats (SD).

The SD gained swathes of support from the Swedish electorate for their criticism of the establishment and Brussel’s response to the 2015 migrant crisis.

In a July interview with Express.co.uk, Swedish MEP Peter Lundgren claimed the party could be successful in taking Sweden out of the EU in just a couple of years, provided Brexit proves a success.

He said: “I hope that we will end up leaving so that we can keep the power within the Swedish Parliament and not the European Parliament. 

“Of course, it is very difficult especially when the EU start getting the right to taxation.

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“As you know I campaigned alongside Nigel Farage for Sweden to leave and I was hoping we could get a clear mandate when we were heading for the next European elections. 

“We wanted to use the UK’s withdrawal as a good example but that did not happen, as everything turned into a circus.”

Mr Lofren added: “Finally we are there. 

“In a couple of years, we will see the UK being successful and it means we can use it in our communication with our Swedish voters to leave as well.”

Sweden was Britain’s closest ally in the EU when it came to voting on policy and staying out of the eurozone.

Former German MP Dr Peter Gauweiler also claimed that Brexit may influence Sweden to leave the bloc. 

In another interview with Express.co.uk Mr Gauweiler said: “The EU is battered.

“It could recover but the situation will only improve if they release competencies again. 

“The big help for us eurosceptics has been the UK. 

“Brexit is the best proof as things are most likely to be going better than before for the [British].

“Some people are saying that Sweden will be the next one to leave.”

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