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Sweden edges up military spending, bigger increase to come

Staff Writer |
The Swedish government and part of the political opposition agreed to boost defence spending by 500 million crowns ($55.7 million) this year.

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While the funds allotted were minor, the parties also flagged that further additional spending would be considered in the budget process for the coming years.

"We have seen a deterioration of the security situation over time, so it is important to respond to that with different measures and this is a part of that strategy," Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told reporters.

The Nordic country's top military chief, General Micael Byden, said earlier this year that the armed forces lacked at least 6.5 billion crowns to fully fund planned operations in the coming three years.

"We will now analyse and continue the discussions and get back to how we handle this," said Hultqvist referring to the budget for 2018 which is due later this year.

Sweden, which is not a NATO member, cut military expenditure continuously in the years following the Cold War.

In 2015, spending stood at 1.1 percent of GDP versus 2.6 percent in 1990, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

The government and parts of the opposition agreed in 2015 to increase the defence budget by 10.2 billion crowns for the years 2016-2020. The funds announced on Monday would be in addition to this spending.

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