Sweden to Boost Defense Spending

Agreement Strengthens the Defence by 2.7 Billion Per Year

(Source: Swedish Ministry of Defence; issued Aug 16, 2017)

The government has agreed with the Moderates and the Center Party to further strengthening the Swedish Armed Forces and to ensure the overall capability of the Swedish Total Defence. In addition to previous agreements, the budget of the Swedish Armed Forces and other parts of the Swedish Total Defence will be strengthened by an additional 2.7 billion kronor annually for the years 2018-2020.

The priority is to ensure the implementation of the 2015 Defence Bill for the years 2016 to 2020. In addition, actions to further strengthen the Swedish Defence are prioritized including laying the foundation for further increases of Swedish defence capabilities after 2020.

Compared to previous decisions this agreement will increase the defence economy by a total of SEK 8.1 billion over the next three years. Of these, approximately SEK 1.3 billion is allocated to civilian defence and about 6.8 billion to the military defence.


Sweden's Government and Opposition Parties Agree New Defence Deal Worth Billions

(Source: The Local.se; issued Aug 16, 2017)

Sweden's coalition government has agreed a new defence deal worth 2.7 billion kronor ($334 million) per year with two of the centre-right opposition parties.

The deal from 2018 until 2020 will mean 6.8 billion kronor ($841 million) goes to military defences and 1.3 billion kronor ($160 million) to civil defence, totalling 8.1 billion kronor ($1 billion) over three years.

"This is a good sign of political stability and vision. It's good for the Armed Forces, an important signal to the world, and good for Sweden," Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said while presenting the deal at the Rosenbad government offices on Wednesday.

Along with junior coalition partner the Green Party, the Social Democrats were joined by the Moderates and the Centre Party in negotiating the deal.

"The starting point for me and the Moderates was what is best for Sweden, not what's best for the government or what's best for the Moderates," Moderate defence spokesperson Hans Wallmark explained.

Moderate leader Anna Kinberg Batra had hinted during her speech at the annual Almedalen politics week earlier in the summer that the party could leave the talks if they were unsatisfactory, and the Alliance coalition is split on the matter. The Christian Democrats ended their participation in the negotiations earlier this week, and the Liberals did not take part at all, as was the case last year.

Wallmark insisted however that leaving would have meant a worse deal: "This means we get more money for the Armed Forces and in doing so strengthen their capacity. I also think it's an important signal to the world."

The money will be spent on among other things purchasing new vehicles and ammunition for the military, an increase in the number of positions available in officer education as well as basic training, and more soldiers.

Green Party defence spokesperson Anders Schröder thanked "the whole group for a constructive and good environment of cooperation". That despite the fact that Defence Minister Hultqvist is the subject of a planned no-confidence motion by the centre-right opposition.

Asked if that is good for cooperation, Moderate defence spokesperson Wallmark deflected: "They're two completely different processes and today we’re presenting a defence agreement we're very happy with."

Swedish defence has been in sharp focus recently following an increase in military activity from Russia in the Baltic region. In June the Nordic nation summoned Russia's ambassador after a Russian SU-27 jet flew unusually close to a Swedish reconnaissance plane in international airspace above the Baltic Sea.

Conscription has even been brought back to strengthen the number of troops in the Swedish Armed Forces, after recruitment drives failed to fill numbers adequately.


New Cross-Party Deal to Increase Defence Budget

(Source: Swedish Radio; issued Aug 16, 2017)

The government and two parties in the centre-right opposition have agreed to increase the defence spending with SEK 8,1 billion until 2020.

In 2015, five parties reached an agreement over defence and defence spending until 2020. But in the beginning of this year, those parties reopened talks to increase that budget, as a result of what was referred to as "the worsening security situation".

The talks were supposed to have been finalised before the summer, but have been dragging on. After the parties met in the beginning of this week, the Christian Democrats announced that they were not happy with where the negotiations were going, and so would leave the talks.

Now, the government, made up of the Social Democrats and the Green Party, has reached an agreement with the biggest opposition party in parliament, the conservative Moderate Party, and the Centre Party to increase the defence spending by SEK 2,7 billion per year between 2018 and 2020.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Bydén told the government that another SEK 9 billion would be needed until 2020, in order to fulfill the task set by the defence agreement from 2015.

At a press conference on Wendesday, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist thanked the Moderates, the Greens and the Centre Party for good co-operation during the negotiations.

"Continuity in Swedish defence and security policy is crucial," said Hultqvist at the press conference.

The defence spokesperson of the Moderate Party, Hans Wallmark (M), said that this agreement is in line with what the Supreme Commander had demanded earlier this year. Wallmark said that it was thanks to his party that the increased spending was as high as it was.

"The alternative would have been zero or significantly lower sums," Wallmark said.

In a comment on twitter on Wednesday, the leader of the Liberal Party, Jan Björklund, said: "The defence decision of 2015 was a) under-financed b) insufficient. Now the decision is fully financed, but Sweden's defence is still insufficient."

The Liberal Party left the talks already in 2015, in protest against the direction the talks were taking.


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