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MILITARY

Sweden reaches deal to boost defence spending by €3bn

Sweden's government has struck a deal with opposition parties to boost defence spending by three billion kronor a year, giving the green light to the Swedish Armed Forces to order 30 billion kronor (€3bn) in new equipment by 2030.

Troops from the Swedish Amphibious Corps on exercise with a Robot 17 surface-to-air missile.
Troops from the Swedish Amphibious Corps on exercise with a Robot 17 surface-to-air missile. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

“It is a real strength that we have reached an agreement,” Sweden’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, said after the deal was reached on Wednesday evening. 

The Swedish Armed Forces aims to use its increased budget on new surface-to-air missiles, air-to-air missiles for its planes, and armoured personnel carriers with tank tracks. Under the deal, it will receive an extra two billion as early as this year.  

Under the deal, the parties also agreed to spend an extra 800 million kronor on civil defence, which will, among other things, go towards boosting the country’s rescue services and renovating bomb shelters.   

Sweden's defence minister, Peter Hultqvist (centre) and defence spokespeople for the other parties, after the deal was struck:

Sweden’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist (centre) and defence spokespeople for the other parties, after the deal was struck: Photo: TT

The Civil Contingencies Agency has passed the government a 1.8 billion kronor wish-list, which includes money for strengthening protections for the civil population, renovating bomb shelters, and repairing emergency sirens.  

The agency also wants to launch a new communications campaign to help individuals increase their own preparedness, money to help municipalities speed up the restoration of their own civil defence plans, and money to protect electronic communication and post. 

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NATO

Germany to boost military cooperation with Sweden and Finland amid Nato bid

Germany will ramp up its military collaboration with Sweden and Finland as the two countries seek Nato membership in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday.

Germany to boost military cooperation with Sweden and Finland amid Nato bid

“We will intensify our military cooperation, especially in the Baltic Sea region and through joint exercises,” Scholz said amid concern for the two candidates’ security during the transition period to Nato accession.

“It is already clear that our countries are bound together by an obligation to provide each other with all possible assistance and support for mutual protection” as members of the United Nations and the European Union, Scholz added.

“Both countries can always rely on our support, especially in this very special situation,” he said.

Germany has been hiking up military spending and changing decades-held policies in the wake of the war on Ukraine, which began when Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24th this year. 

READ ALSO: Zeitenwende: How war in Ukraine has sparked a historic shift in Germany

With Moscow pressing its assault in eastern border regions of Ukraine nearly three months into its invasion, Helsinki and Stockholm are poised to give up decades of military non-alignment over fears they could be next.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson confirmed on Monday her country would apply to join Nato, a day after Finland — which shares a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia – said the same.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose war has sparked global outrage, said the move poses “no direct threat for us… but the expansion of military infrastructure to these territories will certainly provoke our response”.

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told a meeting of the alliance in Berlin on Sunday that it would “look into ways to provide security assurances including by increasing Nato presence in the region” during the transition period.

“Finland and Sweden are concerned about the interim period… we will try to speed up that process,” he said.

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