• Sweden edition
 
Swedish defence Minister resigns over cuts

Swedish defence Minister resigns over cuts

Published: 05 Sep 2007 14:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Sep 2007 14:10 GMT+02:00

Defence Minister Mikael Odenberg has resigned in protest at government defence cuts. Savings of 4-5 billion kronor announced by Finance Minister Anders Borg were made "without basis or foundation".

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, he repeatedly stated his opposition to the fact that the government had announced cuts in defence spending without first analyzing Sweden's military requirements.

"[The Swedish's military's] finances have been disconnected from its purpose," he told a resignation press conference.

"You can't just take away lots of defence procurement spending without it having operative effects," he said.

The cuts, he said, would damage Sweden's capacity to take part in international operations and would make it impossible for Sweden "to belong to the EU's core in defence matters."

He indicated that his decision to resign was a matter of conscience:

"I want to be able to face myself in the mirror and look our military personnel in the eye."

Odenberg said he did not have any objections to other aspects of government policy and added that he was resigning "entirely without bitterness."

Odenberg said he had also written to the speaker of Sweden's parliament, Per Westerberg, and asked to resign his seat. He did not reveal plans for the future, although said that he "plans to lose the 30 kilos I have gained since being elected to parliament."

Odenberg's resignation will be a shock to Sweden's political establishment, but the rift between him and Finance Minister Anders Borg has been apparent since early summer. Borg detailed plans in early July for an annual four billion kronor cut in the Swedish defence budget.

The finance minister said that defence minister Mikael Odenberg was on board - though Odenberg said at the time that was a "misunderstanding".

Borg argued that by 2010 the military should cut its spending by four billion kronor, or ten percent of the total budget. The cuts would primarily come from new equipment purchases.

The head of Sweden's armed forces, Supreme Commander Håkan Syrén has announced that he will hold a press conference later on Wednesday.

Commenting immediately after Anders Borg's statement in July, Syrén warned against hasty decisions being taken.

"In the end it is our politicians' role to decide the job of the military and future defence budgets, but I am seeking an unconditional discussion which starts with the operations which today's and tomorrow's Swedish military has been assigned. Most of all we should avoid drawing conclusions too hastily and too early. Not least when it comes to the finances," wrote Syrén.

He concluded his newsletter with an appeal to Odenberg.

"I understand that my view in that respect is completely in line with the defence minister's position," wrote the Supreme Commander.

Mikael Odenberg, born in 1953, has been a long-serving member of the Moderate Party. He was named Defence Minister after the coalition Alliance's election victory last September.

He began his political career as a county councillor in Stockholm in 1976 and has been a member of the Swedish parliament since 1991.

Odenberg lives in Stockholm and is married with four children.

The new defence minister has not yet been announced, although some newspapers are speculating that Trade Minister Sten Tolgfors will succeed Odenberg.

Odenberg is the third minister to resign from Fredrik Reinfeldt's cabinet. Maria Borelius resigned as trade minister after only eight days in the job. She was forced to quit after questions were raised over her tax affairs. Culture Minister Cecilia Stegö Chilò resigned two days later after admitting she had not paid her television licence fee for sixteen years.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Advertisement:
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

719
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com