U.K. Brexit Talks Will Only Be With United Bloc, Sweden Says

The U.K. shouldn’t get to strike separate deals with countries in the European Union and will need to hold its talks to exit the 28-nation bloc only with the European Commission, Sweden said.

“There have been discussions, not least calls from various U.K corners, for separate agreements between the U.K. and different countries,” Swedish EU Minister Ann Linde said at a press briefing in Stockholm. “We want to counteract all such attempts; there shouldn’t be separate agreements but only with the EU as a whole.” The EU Commission should be the negotiator, she said.

Linde’s comments come as the new U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is gearing up to decide when to activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would start two years of talks to leave the EU. May has said she won’t pull the trigger before the end of the year. This has been backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has also ruled out preliminary talks either “formally or informally.”

The Swedish minister, who before U.K. voters decided to leave the bloc at the end of June said there was “great bitterness” toward Britain, also urged patience to allow both sides time to analyze the situation.

“It’s very important that the U.K. gets time for reflection and that one also lets EU institutions and member states prepare but the time allowed for that can’t be too long.” Linde said.

In terms of demands, Linde said that it’s important for the U.K. to realize that it can’t just choose what’s “positive for your own country and ignore the other things” such as the free movement of people.

“The most important thing is to have a continued good relation with the U.K. in all areas and secondly, that we continue to have good trade with the U.K.,” she said.

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