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Sweden wants Brexit progress in December, but UK must move on money
November 22, 2017 / 3:29 PM / 25 days ago

Sweden wants Brexit progress in December, but UK must move on money

GENEVA (Reuters) - Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said on Wednesday he wanted Brexit talks to move to the next stage in December but there were red lines and Britain needed to make commitments to the rest of the European Union, especially on finance.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven (R) gestures during an interview at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

“We want to see us taking the decision on the next step in December but we cannot just do that without the commitments that we want,” he told reporters at in Geneva.

“There are of course red lines that we are watching and right now we need more clarifying on the financial commitment, for example, which is the hardest issue.”

A “no deal” outcome would be very bad, he said, adding that Sweden was as pragmatic as possible and had always said it wanted to retain close relations with Britain, both before and after it leaves the EU, a deadline set for March 29, 2019.

But he said Sweden was not taking any steps to build up customs infrastructure to cope with potential new trading arrangements.

“We’re right now in a phase of the negotiations where we don’t even know what the future bilateral relations will be,” he said.

Sweden’s housing sector has been booming for two decades and the central bank called on the government on Wednesday to act on proposals to tighten mortgage repayment rules, playing down worries that heavier regulation could cause a recent fall in house prices to accelerate.Löfven said the government would decide within days.

“We were given advice from the finance authority on how to handle that and we will make a decision within at the most a week. So we are right now preparing that decision,” he said.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Alison Williams and William Maclean

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