Since 2014’s Russian annexation, the Swedish government has not shied away from the dangers that loom over the security and stability of the Nordic country. The recent invasion of Ukraine, by Vladimir Putin, has raised alarms in Sweden, which is reluctant to abandon its traditional neutrality. Join NATO.The only Nordic country that does not belong to NATO is Finland and Sweden. Therefore, they do not have collective defense. Article 5 of Washington Treaty
On Thursday, the Armed Forces and military intelligence and security services (Must), outlined the threat to Sweden currently. According to Chief of Operations, the Swedish Armed Forces, “Russia has many tools, including influence operations, discrediting people of importance, cyber attacks and sabotage.” Michael Claesson.
“In recent months, significant factors have been added”Claesson recognized Claesson who mentioned not only the invasion in Ukraine but also the strengthened Russian control over Belarus and the alliance between Moscow & Beijing.
Jan Kinnander, Head of the Must Security Office, stated that intelligence threats against Sweden have remained high at an elevated level since 2016. Kinnander thinks there is low risk of sabotage by cyber or physical activity. However, additional protection measures are still in place.
The government wants to make a huge investment in defense. The government should increase military spending to 2 percent of GDP as soon as possible. Moreover, it is important that more young people serve in the military.
“It is an extremely large investment and can only be compared to the investments in Defense during the 1950s”, explains the Defense Minister, Peter Hultqvist. After the end the 1990s and after the disintegration USSR, the Swedish military expenditures have not reached 2% of the GDP. This is a feat that 30 NATO countries pledged to accomplish at the Wales Summit in 2014.
But investing more won’t automatically increase Sweden’s ability to defend itself against potential external threats. “It has been many, many years. This is what we want to do. We have to make the most of each crown with which we enter”, he acknowledged Hultqvist.
For Sweden’s rearmament to be effective, more people will have to be conscripted into military service each year. “Ultimately, more young people need to prepare for military service and contribute to military defense. However, civil defense is also important,” said the prime minister. It’s all about, -Andersson insists -that we build a national defence.”
The Social Democrats have not yet specified the time frame for which the investments in Defense will take place, despite the fact that they are only six months away from the general elections.
“These are large sums and it depends on the year we land. It will work the opposite way if we land in the past year. We have taken a look at the data from the authorities on how quickly it can happen and how much defense capacity you have,” explains Finance Minister Mikael Damberg.
While the center-right opposition supports strengthening the Swedish defense, it rejects the idea that it should be funded through tax increases as suggested by Finance Minister. “We are expecting big tax increases for the Swedish population in this tense economic situation,” warned Pål Jonson, defense spokesman for the Moderate Party. Conservatives on the other side are determined to cut other areas of public spending. “We will handle it on an ongoing basis, but we will prioritize a lot and make sure we have a balanced budget.”