• Sweden edition
 

Persson finally pushes Swedish defence cuts through

Published: 16 Dec 2004 19:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Dec 2004 19:14 GMT+01:00

In practice, the bill means the military will be downsized by a third and the army transformed from a conscription-based to volunteer-based force. The government also claims the changes will make the armed forces more suitable for their role in the European Union’s rapid reaction force.

The Left Party (Vänsterpartiet), part of the red-green coalition, had held out from giving its blessing to the proposals. The party was concerned about job losses caused by military shutdowns in its northern strongholds. After long negotiations, the party agreed to support the government in return for assurances that the base in Arvidsjaur, in Norbotten, would remain open.

The bill does not mean that conscription is disappearing altogether, but reduced manpower in Sweden’s army will mean that, in practice, few people will be forced to do armed service. In the coming years the number of conscripts will be reduced to 8,300 amounting to one in seven 19-year-olds. Today the number stands at 13,500.

Starting in January 2006, military duty for conscripts will be 11 months long for all posts. Many of these posts will perform military maneuvers or be stationed abroad.

With so few places to fill and more attractive assignments, the government expects the positions to be filled more by volunteers and less by conscripts.

Hugo Hökerberg, responsible for new conscripts at the military academy said, “We have physical and psychological basic requirements for each conscription posting. If there are two or more who fulfill the requirements we will choose the one who is enthusiastic to perform these duties, especially if they are eager to serve abroad.”

The bill has its critics, with many commentators voicing their disapproval of the negotiations between the government and the Left Party.

Lena Mellin in Aftonbladet called these concessions bribery. But the Social Democrats needed the Left Party to back the decision to restructure the military. The Left Party has scored a victory in its political wrangling despite the current political weakness of party leader, Lars Ohly.

Ohly has been under the microscope for several weeks regarding his political history and his admission that he considers himself a communist. Another blow came when former party leader, Gudrun Schyman, resigned from the party last week.The party’s poll ratings have been in free fall, and many Social Democrats have been rushing to distance themselves from both the Left Party and its leader. Göran Persson was therefore under pressure from some quarters not to concede to the Left Party on the defence proposition, but in practice he needed their votes to get the bill passed.

The changes forced onto the government by the Left Party have been attacked by opposition parties for not being properly costed.

“It’s simply good manners to work out the cost of a proposal before you ask MPs to vote on it,” Eskil Erlandsson, Centre Party MP and chairman of the Riksdag’s defence committee was quoted as saying in Dagens Nyheter. Yet attempts by the opposition to get a vote on the matter postponed came to nothing.

Göran Persson may be feeling satisfied that he got his bill through parliament, but in doing so he appears to have used up a lot of his political capital. Lena Mellin in Aftonbladet summed up the disillusion among observers: “It’s probably a good thing that the parliament starts its Christmas holiday on Saturday. Many believe there’s a need for time for reflection.”

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet

Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Society
Sweden tops 'financial well-being' rankings
Sweden's family-friendly policies contribute to well-being. Photo: TT

Sweden tops 'financial well-being' rankings

Swedes have fewer money concerns than people from any other European country, according to the latest major report on global well-being. READ  

BREAKING
King Carl XVI Gustav 'unhurt' after crash
The Swedish king. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustav 'unhurt' after crash

BREAKING: Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustav has been involved in a car accident but is unhurt, the Royal family's press office has confirmed to The Local. READ  

Elections 2014
Migration minister calls Feminists 'a dark force'

Migration minister calls Feminists 'a dark force'

Sweden's Migration Minister has said in a Facebook post that both the Sweden Democrats and the Feminist Initiative parties were "dark, gloomy, and destructive forces". READ  

The Local List
Ten Swedish designs that made life better
Playsam

Ten Swedish designs that made life better

Sweden has produced an indecent number of design classics. We take a look at some of the best - from toys to furniture, fabric designs to telephones, packaging to super-safe headwear. READ  

Sport
Juventus topple Malmö in Champions opener
Argentinian Carlos Tevez scores against Malmö. Photo: AP

Juventus topple Malmö in Champions opener

Malmö, the first Swedish club in the Champion's League for more than a decade, lost against Italian champions Juventus on Tuesday night in their Group A opener. READ  

Science
Swedes discover rare Antarctic fossils

Swedes discover rare Antarctic fossils

Researchers from Sweden have been speaking about a rare discovery of mammal fossils in the Antarctic. READ  

Ukraine conflict
Sweden Democrats reject EU-Ukraine pact
The Sweden Democrats have two MEPs, seen here with the party's leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrats reject EU-Ukraine pact

BREAKING: The European Parliament has backed an 'historic' agreement to allow closer trade between the EU and Ukraine, but the nationalist Sweden Democrats were among those trying to block the deal on Tuesday. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven to get no help from Sweden's Liberals
Liberal party leader Jan Björklund. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Löfven to get no help from Sweden's Liberals

UPDATED: Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund says he has no plans to join a government with the election-winning Social Democrats, as Sweden's political future remains uncertain. READ  

Analysis
'Evolution' for Sweden's crowd-funding scene
Photo: Victor1558/Flickr

'Evolution' for Sweden's crowd-funding scene

The Local checks out crowd-funding in Sweden as US giant Kickstarter announces plans to launch in Scandinavia. READ  

Opinion
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Brit Kester Gibson (left) thinks Scotland should split from the UK but Swede Mimi Coglianos disagrees. Photos: private

Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?

Scotland votes on whether to become independent this week and the Scottish National Party has suggested closer ties with Scandinavia if the 'yes' camp wins. The Local asked two readers if they agreed with Scotland splitting from the UK. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Blog updates

17 September

Deep election analysis (Blogweiser) »

"You think you’re bad? Well I’m American. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFbomLID0vU Deep deep analysis on Swedish election results. Vlog post: https://t.co/tjQgfa5Yie #svpol #val2014 #politics pic.twitter.com/oEK5ADFT8L — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 17, 2014 " READ »

 

15 September

Liten, litet, små & lilla (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Have you ever been confused about when to use “liten”, “litet”, “små” and “lilla”? Today I’m going to sort out how use the adjective “liten” (small) and the different forms of it. Liten or litet? “Liten” is the form we will use when referring to a noun with the gender “en”. For example: Min pappa har en..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

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 Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

853
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
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN