Europe

Brexit domino effect: Denmark and Sweden marked as ‘ones to watch’ for future EU exits

Brexit: Liz Truss claims trade with the EU is 'bouncing back'

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The UK’s divorce bill set to be paid to the EU amounts to £37.3billion, the Treasury claimed yesterday, a total that falls short of the EU’s recent estimate. In a statement to Parliament, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, outlined the estimated Brexit financial settlement, which fell within the government’s previous forecast range of £35-39billion. The European Commission, however, has said it expects the final bill to be almost £41billion.

The Brexit bill consists of EU spending plans British governments signed up to during 47 years of membership, as well as the pensions and healthcare costs of senior EU officials. Some of the money is funding EU programmes in the UK that have not yet wound up.

The UK’s divorce payments to Brussels are expected to continue for decades, so the true Brexit bill will only be known long after today’s politicians have left the stage.

After the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, experts began to speculate on who could leave the bloc next.

Paolo Dardanelli, senior lecturer in comparative politics and acting director of the Centre for Federal Studies at the University of Kent, told CNBC that Denmark and Sweden were the ones to watch.

He said: “Denmark and Sweden would be the ones to watch in particular, as their position would be significantly weakened.”

Mr Dardanelli argued that EU members outside the eurozone, such as Denmark and Sweden, could become more marginalised.

He added that Ireland – a member of the eurozone but also closely tied to the UK – could find itself “in an uncomfortable situation”.

Mr Dardanelli also said that Germany could find itself “in an even more dominant position” whilst at the same time losing “a precious ally on issues such as economic reform, competitiveness, free trade and so forth.”

Ultimately, he said Brexit meant that the bloc would be “less competitive” and “more protectionist”.

Sweden and Denmark were closely aligned on a number of issues within the EU.

Expert on Swedish politics – Mikael Sundstrom – told Express.co.uk earlier this year that Sweden is “missing” the UK.

He said: “Clearly Sweden is missing the UK more than most, because the UK and Sweden were very well aligned on a number of issues.

“Now Sweden no longer has that really powerful ally, so Sweden is missing out more than most on British support.

“They shared similar views on exports trade, foreign policy for example. The UK and Sweden regularly teamed up on other issues.”

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However, he argued that ‘Swexit’ would not follow Brexit as Stockholm’s economy is too small to thrive without the support of the bloc.

Professor Sundstrom added: “The UK was a more difficult partner to the EU than Sweden can be.

“There is no question of Sweden managing economically outside the EU, we have much more to lose.

“The UK is a big economy, a global power in many respects. But Sweden is a small export dependent country, we simply have to align with EU countries.”

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