Referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Thursday that the country’s military spending must be significantly increased and is trying to raise it to 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) as soon as possible.
In a speech to reporters about the plan in Stockholm, Andersson said that her government presents a clear message to the Swedish people and the world that the nation’s defense capability “must be greatly strengthened”.
She said that the security situation in “Sweden’s vicinity” has deteriorated over time and the Russian attack on Ukraine further aggravates it.
At the same press conference, the Swedish Minister of Finance Mikael Damberg said that Sweden’s current military budget is about 7.18 billion dollars – about 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP. Andersson did not set a specific timeline for reaching the 2 percent level, but stated that she would like to do so within the decade.
Andersson said that increased defense spending also means that young people should be prepared to do military service.
The 2 percent target is the same figure that NATO requires for its members, although reports say that many member states are not reaching their target.
Despite the fact that Sweden is not a member, Sweden has a close collaboration with the alliance and neighboring Denmark is one of the founders.
During the Cold War, Sweden devoted up to 4 percent of its gross domestic product to the defense budget, but reduced its spending during the 1990s and early 2000s, to around one percent. That began to change in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led several European nations, including Germany and Denmark, to increase their defense spending.