Parties at odds on defense spending in Sweden

Four JAS 39 Gripen jet fighters perform during the Day of the Airforce in Linkoping, Sweden on June 13, 2010.  (AFP)
Four JAS 39 Gripen jet fighters perform during the Day of the Airforce in Linkoping, Sweden on June 13, 2010. (AFP)
Sweden’s main political parties clashed over how much to spend on the military Thursday morning after the Swedish Defense Commission presented its budgetary proposals for the next few years.

Cecilia Widegren, a Moderate party MP and chairwoman of the defense committee, said spending should be increased to the tune of SEK 5.5 billion annually.

But the opposition Social Democrats want to give more money to the military than what the government, led by the conservative Moderates, has proposed.

Social Democrat defense spokesman Peter Hultqvist said the government’s proposals for sending SEK 1.1 billion more in units and materiel by 2018 is not enough. He wants spending to go up to SEK 2 billion.

“The truth is that we wanted better funding in the coming years to 2018-2019,” he told Swedish Radio News.

In it’s report, the commission suggested increasing the number of Gripen fighter jets from 60 to 70, as well as increasing the number of submarines to five and buying a new modern anti-aircraft system. It also wants to increase cooperation with other countries and security organizations, such as the UN, EU and NATO.

The commission was due to hand over its report on March 31, but was granted an extension after the crisis in Ukraine erupted to have more time to analyze the consequences of the instability.

Related stories from around the Arctic:

Canada:Canadian military practise landing plans on highway in North, CBC News

Finland:  US Army special forces in Finland for winter war games, Yle News

Norway: Norway’s military intel chief admits to phone spying outside country, The Associated Press

Russia: Russia to reopen Soviet-era Arctic military base, Reuters

Sweden: NATO praises Sweden’s defence, Radio Sweden

United States: Crews unearth military history on Alaska Glacier, Alaska Dispatch

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