Sweden boosts 2017 military spending by $55m

Citing ‘security concerns’, Sweden plans to add tens of millions in military spending to a $5bn defence budget.

Sweden reinstates military conscription
A resurgent Russia has prompted Stockholm to improve defence capabilities in the coming years [EPA]

The Swedish will increase defence spending by tens of millions of dollars this year to bolster military capabilities in the face of growing security concerns.

Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist announced on Monday that the Nordic nation will pump an additional $55.7m into military expenditures in 2017.

“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,” said Hultqvist.

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

READ MORE: Sweden military service reintroduced ‘to face threats’

Sweden said earlier this month it would reintroduce military conscription in 2018 as the voluntary draft failed to fill the ranks at a time of increased security concerns.

A resurgent Russia and tensions over the conflict in Ukraine prompted politicians to call for an improvement of military capabilities, which have been allowed to slide since the end of the Cold War.

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

For 2017, Sweden has already earmarked an estimated $5bn for defence spending, according to the defence analysis website Global Security. The funds announced on Monday would be in addition.

In 2015, defence spending stood at 1.1 percent of Sweden's GDP [EPA]
In 2015, defence spending stood at 1.1 percent of Sweden’s GDP [EPA]

The Nordic country’s top military chief, General Micael Byden, said earlier this year the armed forces lacked at least $724m to fully fund planned operations in the coming three years.

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.

The government and parts of the opposition agreed in 2015 to increase the defence budget by $1.13bn for the years 2016-2020.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies