Baku, May 28, AZERTAC
Sweden intends to increase defense spending to at least 2% of its gross domestic product by 2028, says Sweden’s Minister of Finance Mikael Damberg in an interview with Japanese Nikkei Asia.
The country currently spends about 1.3% of its GDP on defense.
Sweden has applied to join NATO, which requires member states to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense. Sweden will increase its expenditure to that level over the next six years.
Nikkei spoke to Damberg alongside the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Sweden applied for membership in NATO on 18 May. Stockholm has abandoned its approximately 200-year policy of neutrality to join the collective defense pact and will increase military spending to join the alliance.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Sweden spent $ 7.9 billion on defense in 2021 and has maintained an expenditure ratio of just over 1% over the past decade. Defense spending should increase “as quickly as possible when it is practical,” Damberg said. “The military has said it believes it can [reach 2% of GDP] by 2028. “
Even if Sweden’s GDP does not grow, the country will need more than $ 4 billion in additional defense spending to reach the 2% threshold. Damberg said that the government would work to avoid reducing spending in other areas to secure funds for the defense. “[We] will need to talk about long-term financing “, he said, indicating that he would not rule out increasing the issuance of government bonds.
Regarding Sweden’s defense position after joining NATO, Damberg said: “We see no need to have a permanent [NATO] bases in Sweden. We do not need to see nuclear weapons on Swedish soil. “
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