PM: Sweden's defense is strong enough
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt maintains that Sweden's defense has been strengthened and that it is adequate to meet threats, however, more and more Swedes feel the country needs to invest more money in its military, according to news agency TT.
At the annual Society and Defence conference in Sälen, Reinfeldt said that Sweden's defense has been strengthened since the conservative Moderate-led government came to power in 2006. He also believes that there is broad political agreement on military reforms, despite heated debates in recent years.
He said that the opposition does not want to raise the allowance for the military, and he emphasized that the government currently gives 1.4 billion kronor more to defense (until 2017).
The Swedish Armed Forces, however, believes that in the long run, this needs to rise by four billion kronor a year, for which representatives of the Liberals and the Christian Democrats, both members of the government coalition, have expressed understanding.
In an annual opnion poll from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the percentage of Swedes who believe that the current defense policy is very good or rather good has dropped from 35 percent to 26 percent. At the same time, the portion of Swedes who believe more money should be spent on defense has risen from 28 to 38 percent.
On Monday, Stefan Löfven, the leader of the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, will speak at the conference. The defense policy spokesperson of that party, Peter Hultqvist, does not agree with Reinfeldt that there has been broad political agreement on the defense reforms. Hultqvist cites his party being against scrapping compulsory military service.