New cross-party deal to increase defence budget
The government and two parties in the centre-right opposition have agreed to increase the defence spending with SEK 8,1 billion until 2020.
In 2015, five parties reached an agreement over defence and defence spending until 2020. But in the beginning of this year, those parties reopened talks to increase that budget, as a result of what was referred to as "the worsening security situation".
The talks were supposed to have been finalised before the summer, but have been dragging on. After the parties met in the beginning of this week, the Christian Democrats announced that they were not happy with where the negotiations were going, and so would leave the talks.
Now, the government, made up of the Social Democrats and the Green Party, has reached an agreement with the biggest opposition party in parliament, the conservative Moderate Party, and the Centre Party to increase the defence spending by SEK 2,7 billion per year between 2018 and 2020.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Bydén told the government that another SEK 9 billion would be needed until 2020, in order to fulfill the task set by the defence agreement from 2015.
At a press conference on Wendesday, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist thanked the Moderates, the Greens and the Centre Party for good co-operation during the negotiations.
"Continuity in Swedish defence and security policy is crucial," said Hultqvist at the press conference.
The defence spokesperson of the Moderate Party, Hans Wallmark (M), said that this agreement is in line with what the Supreme Commander had demanded earlier this year. Wallmark said that it was thanks to his party that the increased spending was as high as it was.
"The alternative would have been zero or significantly lower sums," Wallmark said.
In a comment on twitter on Wednesday, the leader of the Liberal Party, Jan Björklund, said: "The defence decision of 2015 was a) under-financed b) insufficient. Now the decision is fully financed, but Sweden's defence is still insufficient."
The Liberal Party left the talks already in 2015, in protest against the direction the talks were taking.