PM Comments on Minister Spat

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has commented publicly for the first time on the spat between Finance Minister Anders Borg and Defence Minister Mikael Odenberg.

Earlier this month, Borg announced plans to cut the Defence Ministry’s budget - a proposal which Odenberg publicly criticised. Borg responded by saying that if the Ministry of Employment could handle a budget cut of a third, the Ministry of Defence could tolerate losing a tenth of its spending.

Reinfeldt says budget negotiations are still in an early phase, and that the different proposals will be studied in detail once politicians return from their summer holiday, later in August. He emphasized the need for discussion before any final decision is made.

The prime minister wouldn’t be drawn on whether he believed Borg’s plan to cut some 600 million US dollars from the Defence Ministry by 2010 is feasible. Reinfeldt and both ministers are all members of the Conservative Moderate Party, the largest in the four party coalition.

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