September 13, 2017 / 6:38 PM / 10 months ago

Swedish central banker worried over Brexit impact on Sweden

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s exit from the European Union is a risk for the remaining non-euro zone countries in the European Union and will change the political balance, Swedish central bank Deputy Governor Henry Ohlsson said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO - The sign for Sweden's central bank is pictured in Stockholm, Sweden, August 12, 2016. Picture taken August 12, 2016. REUTERS/Violette Goarant -

Britain is Sweden’s sixth biggest trading partner and the two countries have had a common interest in boosting free trade within the European Union and in keeping a tight rein on the EU budget.

Britain has also acted as a balancing force between euro zone heavyweights and those countries - like Sweden - that have chosen not to join the single currency.

“The UK is an important trading partner for Sweden, and what happens with the UK economy will affect Sweden,” Ohlsson told reporters after a speech in London.

“If Britain leaves, the balance between euro countries and out-countries will change.”

Sweden wants Britain’s divorce to be as smooth as possible, but at the same time it has added its voice to those who say that London cannot expect to enjoy all the benefits of membership when it leaves.

With little clarity on how London and Brussels will solve issues such as how much Britain will have to pay to meet the budget commitments it has already made, the effects of Brexit are hard to foresee.

“It’s a worry for us. We don’t know yet. But there’s a risk there,” Ohlsson said.

“We haven’t seen it materialise... things will not only change for the UK. Things might change for the whole European Union and the balance in the European Union will be changed.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Toby Chopra

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