Sweden announces controversial new defence cuts

TT/David Landes
TT/David Landes - [email protected]
Sweden announces controversial new defence cuts

The Swedish government has proposed further cuts in spending on defence materiel, much to the frustration of the opposition.


On Thursday, the Ministry of Defence announced plans for a 2.3 billion kronor ($340 million) reduction in spending on defence equipment by 2011.

Several planned upgrades and renovation programmes, including the modification of the CV90 combat vehicle and the Leopard 2(S) tank, will be scrapped altogether while other programmes will be significantly reduced.

“Together with other measures this [step] will provide for both a balance in finances and the ability to strengthen the military’s core activities in the form of operational units,” said Minister of Defence Sten Tolgfors in a statement.

But Håkan Juholt, a longtime Social Democratic member of Sweden’s commission on defence, blasted the way the government handled the decision.

“It’s flimsy and flaky and short sighted and unreliable and doesn’t build any trust. This happened without any dialogue with the opposition, plain and simple, and they don’t want to take a long-term view,” the TT news agency reported him as saying.

Juholt admitted that the proposal may have some valid suggestions, but he remained livid that the defence ministry had taken the decision without seeking, in his eyes, any sort of broad participation across the political spectrum.

“There’s been no dialogue,” he added.

The cuts will likely have repercussions for BAE Systems, which has an ownership stake in three Sweden-based defence companies affected by the cuts: Hägglunds, Bofors and C-ITS.

Just this past year Sweden had agreed to purchase 549 of the CV90 combat vehicles, but now the order has been cancelled, along with other planned upgrades to existing vehicles.

“We need to talk to our customer to determine what it means and analyze the situation,” said BAE Systems spokesperson Marinette Radebo to TT.

Radebo refused to speculate on the potential income losses or the affects of the defence cuts on the company’s workforce.

“It’s a little too early to say because we still don’t know the scope of the cut backs,” she said.


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