Peacetime conscription unnecessary – defence minister

Defence Minister Mikael Odenberg has said that he is in favour of abolishing Sweden's system of compulsory military service.

Conscription should instead be reserved for times of war, he said in an interview with Svenska Dagbladet.

Wartime conscription should also be applicable for women as well as men, he added. Military service in its current form is only compulsory for men.

Odenberg further stressed that he does not want Sweden to have a professional army. The country should instead retain military service – which is “a symbol for the army’s popular basis” – even if it is only in use at times of military necessity.

“There are good reasons for trying to see if we can find a solution whereby we have basic conscription legislation that can be activated in turbulent times,” said Odenberg.

The minister also ruled out Swedish participation in NATO’s Active Endeavour operation in the Mediterranean. He had previously suggested that such a course of action might be possible.