The defence budget will be increased by more than 27 billion SEK (€2.2 billion) next year, bringing Sweden’s defence spending to 2% of GDP and meeting the NATO target, the government announced on Monday.
Exactly one year after the last general election, the Swedish government announced their decision to increase its defence spending, significantly more than previously announced.
“We are facing historic challenges in defence policy,” said Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonsson, adding that Sweden “will intensify the work on the largest rearmament of the defence force since the 1950s.”
The sharp increase in the defence budget is mainly due to the decision to rearm the defence forces and the expected NATO membership.
The new defence line is described by the Swedish defence minister as a direct consequence of the deteriorating security situation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as it puts increased pressure on the Swedish Armed Forces in the form of resource transfers, foreign surveillance, and exercises, he explained during the press conference.
“We have a defence force today that is working very hard,” he said. “We are aware of this, and they will have to be strengthened.”
Sweden’s expected NATO membership will also lead to increased costs in several ways, according to Jonsson. As an example, he mentions that nearly 250 officers will have to be sent to NATO’s command structures.
“This will happen gradually, and it will require an increased supply of personnel,” said Jonsson.
(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)
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