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What Sweden's draft means for dual citizens

Published tisdag 16 maj kl 16.43
Dual citizen: The only problem would be if Sweden went to war with the US.
(3:49 min)
For the first time, women will also be included in next year's conscription.
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For the first time, women will also be included in next year's conscription. Credit: Pontus Lundahl/TT
Wilhelm Bünger does not take himself too seriously. Credit: Private/Facebook
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Wilhelm Bünger does not take himself too seriously. Credit: Private/Facebook

The Swedish army recruitment agency has now sent letters to almost every 18-year-old eligible for the draft next year. Radio Sweden asked one of them, a US dual-citizen, how he feels about it.

Wilhelm Bünger, 18, received his letter from the Swedish Defence Recruitment Agency more than a month ago.

"I had to go online and answer a bunch of questions: do you consider yourself physically fit; if I like being outdoors; if I can work with people; if I'm a lone wolf? Just stuff like that," he said.

The agency has sent out 90,000 such letters, reaching the vast majority of the 95,000 Swedish citizens born in 1999. This comes after parliament voted to bring back conscription in March.

"I like the idea of a conscript army, considering the political impact of Russia and its aggressions," Bünger said. "In case they would go into the Baltic countries, they could take Gotland and shut out NATO, and then Sweden could get dragged into a war."

But he said that if he was called up, he would lose the right to serve in the United States Armed Services, which is something that crossed his mind at one point.

You can only serve in one military," he said. “I've thought about it considering my family's history. My great-grandpa served in World War II and my grandpa was in the Air Force during the Cold War, but I haven’t' really considered it as a viable career option."

Other than that, he said his dual citizenship would likely not be an issue.

"The only real problem for me would be if Sweden got into a war against the United States – I would lose my citizenship by that, but I don't see that as a real issue," said Bünger. "I mean, Sweden hasn't been in a war since 1814, so I think that I'll be fine."

Next year, the Swedish Defence Recruitment Agency expects to call in roughly 5,000 out of the 95,000 born in 1999 for fitness tests, with military service beginning the following year for those selected.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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