Den 31 januari, dagen då Storbritannien lämnade EU, besökte landets ambassadör Judith Gough riksdagen. I samband med besöket höll talmannen ett tal.
Madam Ambassador, Dear colleagues and friends,
I have invited you to this breakfast as a symbolic way of marking a day of great significance.
As we all know, this is not the end of the beginning, it is not even the beginning of the end – this is the end. The last day that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a member of the European Union.
I really wanted to share a part of this day with you, Madam Ambassador, as a way of saying thank you and farewell on behalf of the Swedish Parliament, but also as a way of saying that we should never let old acquaintance be forgot and that we as a Parliament and Sweden as a nation want to maintain and develop our bilateral relations, something that is of course more important now than perhaps ever before.
There is no doubt in my mind that the 31st of January 2020 will for ever be remembered as a sad day in European history. We have realised for some time that this day would inevitably come, so it is not as shocking as the outcome of the referendum, but still a day that formally marks the departure from the EU of one of its major Member States, and indeed a Member State that for us as Swedes has been of great importance as an ally on so many issues.
But now we must face the facts. There was a referendum, a majority of the voters wanted to leave, the Prime Minister won a land slide victory when he promised to get Brexit done and now the British Government delivers on that pledge.
Madam Ambassador, you have only been here in Stockholm for a few months, but I am sure that you have already noticed that your country is very dear to us in so many ways. Samuel Johnson famously said that when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, and I don’t think Swedes will ever grow tired of visiting London – or other parts of the UK for that matter – both for pleasure and for business. We will never get tired of watching the Crown, or Midsomer Murders or Love Actually at Christmas time for that matter.
But there are also connections much broader and deeper than popular culture. As I mentioned briefly a few moments ago, the UK and Sweden are likeminded on so many areas and have for that reason had very close contacts within the context of the EU and I think it is of great importance that we maintain close contacts and continue working together on many issues, for example free trade and the security of Europe.