SHARE
COPY LINK

MILITARY

Sweden to boost defence budget to two percent of GDP

Sweden's prime minister, Magdalena Andersson on Thursday announced a plan to boost the country's defence spending to two percent of GDP, with the extra funding to reach the armed forces "as soon as practically possible".

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist at the press conference on Monday
Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist at the press conference on Monday. Photo: TT

Speaking at a press conference alongside Mikael Damberg, Sweden’s finance minister, and Peter Hultqvist, the country’s defence minister, she said that increasing the defence budget to two percent of Sweden’s GDP would require spending around 108 billion kronor every year. In 2021, Sweden’s defence budget was roughly 66 billion kronor.

“Sweden’s defence capabilities will be greatly increased,” she said. “The war in Europe is going to affect the Swedish people. We need to continue to strengthen Sweden’s defence capabilities.” 

According to Andersson, the government will ensure that the increase in defence spending is stable and long-term.

A number of Sweden’s opposition parties had already called for Sweden’s defence spending be increased to two percent of GDP, and today’s announcement came on the back of previous parliamentary decisions to increase defence spending.

Under the previous plans, defence spending was due to increase from 66 billion kronor in 2021 to 91 billion in 2025.

Hultqvist warned that it would take time to raise Sweden’s defence capabilities to the new targeted level, while Damberg said that the government would liaise with the relevant authorities to hear their feedback before presented a detailed expansion plan.

Only then, he said, would the government be able to present a deadline for when the goal will be reached.

“In Denmark, they expect to reach this level in 2033,” Damberg said. “Our hope is that we can do it quicker than that.”

The increase in defence spending would require cuts to other areas in Sweden’s budget, he added. 

Hultqvist is currently in negotiations with representatives from all the other parliamentary parties in the Defence Committee, in order to reach an agreement that would allow defence spending to be increased as early as this year, with the money going to extra ammunition, keeping jets in the air, and fuel.

The second stage of negotiations would cover more long-term spending.

The government has not yet announced definitive plans for how much more money would be dedicated to defence spending this year, and whether these would be new funds, or be financed by using next year’s defence funds a year early. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

NATO

Sweden ‘to send in Nato request on Monday’

Sweden will express its interest in joining the Nato alliance on Monday, Sweden's Expressen newspaper has reported, citing anonymous sources.

Sweden 'to send in Nato request on Monday'

According to the newspaper, Magdalena Andersson will call a governmental meeting late on Monday where the decision on whether to join Nato will be made, after which the country will send in formal documentation immediately.

Officials at Sweden’s foreign ministry have been drafting the text for several weeks, the paper claims, meaning it is now complete and ready to be submitted. 

The meeting will follow a debate scheduled in Sweden’s Riksdag parliament for 10.30am on Monday morning, which will discuss the conclusions of the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’, which is due to submit its reassessment of Sweden’s security situation this Friday. The anti-Nato Left and Green parties are unlikely to support the conclusions of the report and the report is not expected to state explicitly whether Sweden should join the alliance or not.

After the debate, Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, who is on a state visit to Sweden, will hold a speech in the parliament, with the title “a responsible, strong and stable North”. 

Finland on Thursday kicked off the formal process whereby Sweden and Finland are likely to join Nato, when its president Sauli Niinistö and prime minister Sanna Marin published a joint statement recommending that Finland apply to join “without delay”. 

On Sunday, the ruling committee of Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats will take a decision on whether to back Nato membership for Sweden, thereby reversing the policy of non-alignment it has supported since before Nato was founded. 

The formal shift in the Social Democrats’ position will remove the last hurdle to a Swedish decision in favour of joining Nato. 

Here’s a breakdown of how the day might look: 

  • 9am. The day starts at 9am, Swedish time, when the Finnish parliament meets to discuss the decision taken by the government on Sunday. No other parliamentary business is scheduled. According to the Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper the Finnish parliament will also publish the conclusions of its debates in a letter to the government recommending that Finland apply to join Nato.
  • 10.30am. A debate is scheduled in Sweden’s parliament, which will discuss the conclusions of the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’. 
  • 12am. Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, who is on a state visit to Sweden, will hold a speech in the parliament with the title “a responsible, strong and stable North”. 
  • Afternoon: According to Expressen, Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson will call a governmental meeting late on Monday, where the decision on whether to join Nato will be made.
  • Officials at Sweden’s foreign ministry have been drafting the text of the application for several weeks, the paper claims, meaning it is now complete and ready to be submitted. 
  • Afternoon/Evening: Sweden and perhaps Finland send in applications to join Nato.
SHOW COMMENTS