Sweden increases defence spending by 500 mln USD
Stockholm, Aug 31 (IANS) The Swedish government announced that it will increase defence spending by 5 billion SEK (500 million U.S. dollars) between 2022 and 2025.
Major parties in the Swedish government reached consensus on the decision and announced it at a joint press conference, on Friday, with representatives from each of the parties supporting the agreement, according to Swedish broadcaster SVT.
"It is very satisfying to be able to take part in this because it is a strong signal of joint responsibility," Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told the press conference, Xinhua news agency reported.
"[This outcome] provides us with the conditions to seriously begin the reconstruction of the Swedish military defence," said Liberal party defence spokesperson Allan Widman.
This "reconstruction" includes expanding the Swedish defence force from 60,000 to 90,000 personnel (including civilians and the Home Guard), as well as doubling conscripts from 4000 to 8000. The proposed reconstruction will establish more air force bases, expand fleets, enhance weapons systems and upgrade vehicles.
It is not yet clear, however, where the extra contribution to the defence budget will come from. According to SVT, Hultqvist wasn't prepared to offer details on funding the extra 5 billion SEK.
"We return to the full account of how this is going to happen at another time. There is a common view of financing that I think looks good and that we are happy with," Hultqvist said.
The process of finalizing the new defence proposal and allocating the increased budget will now continue into November, with formal comments to be delivered by Nov 15.
"I see in front of me a very constructive work with the goal of a very broad support," said Hultqvist.