The UK is one of Sweden’s largest trade partners and if Britain were to leave the EU without a trade deal, Sweden would be badly hit. In the absence of a deal, the UK would be required to follow World Trade Organisation rules on tariffs, making future trade more expensive.
On Thursday the Swedish government therefore ordered the National Board of Trade (Kommerskollegium) to prepare Sweden’s priorities ahead of Brexit trade talks.
Both Brussels and London have been talking of a “no deal” Brexit recently but Social Democratic EU Affairs and Trade Minister Ann Linde says Sweden has not given up hope of an agreement.
Sweden’s state-owned Vattenfall said in January this year that the utility would be run as six business areas from April 1, and that lignite power would be left outside this reorganisation (ed.).
Today Danske Bank analyst Jacob Magnussen tells business daily Dagens Industri he believes the exclusion of lignite power from the reorganisation indicates that Vattenfall has come a long way in the process to sell its lignite power plants and coal mines in Germany.
Two Czech power giants, EPH and CEZ, have expressed interest in the business on a number of occasions in the past six months, and recently Poland’s PGE has eyed Vattenfall’s German assets. A price tag of between SKr 20 and 40 billion has been mentioned.
Simultaneousy, Germany’s RWE and E.On are pressing ahead with the sale of their lignite businesses.
Just how the government will react, if an offer is made, is unclear. The Green Party has called for the closure of the lignite mines, while Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised that the utility will not strike any more bad deals, such as the one with Nuon.
Meanwhile, during parliamentary question time on Thursday, Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg said he would not take any stance until a bid has been made. Talking to DI afterwards, the minister said that any deal struck would have to be commercially sound.