Finance minister Anders Borg announced plans to slash up to 10%, some US$600 million, from Sweden’s defence budget before the next general election in 2010.
In response, the defence minister, Mikael Odenberg, said there had been a misunderstanding, claiming no discussion of any reduction in the defence budget had taken place.
In a later statement, Borg held firm, saying that if the Ministry of Employment can handle a budget cut of a third, the Ministry of Defence can tolerate losing a tenth of its spending.
According to the Swedish armed forces’ own website, the defence budget has been reduced by 20% over the period from 2000 to 2007.
In his speech to party supporters, Anders Borg reiterated his party’s plans to cut more taxes.