Sweden’s approach to security policy has changed. The Russian annexation of Crimea, the armed conflict in Ukraine, the increased amount of exercises as well as intelligence activities in the Baltic Sea region, the intrusive behavior by Russia, and now the Swedish Armed Forces intelligence operation in the Stockholm archipelago demonstrate the necessity for Sweden to maintain a functional and effective operational defence organization.
The geopolitical changes demonstrate how important it is to develop the national dimension of Sweden’s defence. Safeguarding Swedish sovereignty and territorial integrity is a key task. The Government considers that the military units and equipment acquisition of the Swedish Armed Forces need to gradually be strengthened in accordance with the proposals of the Defence Commission.
In the Budget Bill, the Government proposed measures to strengthen the military activities and presence of the Swedish Armed Forces in our vicinity. As such, the Government underlines the importance of maintaining and strengthening a high standard of air surveillance. There should also be an increased presence on Gotland.
Furthermore, the changes in the autumn budget proposes an additional contribution totalling SEK 210 million, in 2014, in order to strengthen exercise activities and availability of military units. Additional reinforcements will also occur in 2015 and beyond. The primary purpose of the funding is to strengthen exercise activities. This initiative is in line with the ambitions and directions of the Defence Commission.
In order to ensure the development and acquisition of the new JAS Gripen 39 E, we will take the responsibility for the completion of its upgrade and production. As a consequence of the incomplete JAS-deal with Switzerland, the allocation to defence equipment will be given an additional SEK 2 billion in 2014. This initiative will be funded in part by reducing the appropriation for international operations by SEK 500 million. The allocation for defence equipment will also receive a further SEK 900 million in 2015. The JAS-project will thereby receive a total of SEK 2.9 billion over the next two years. This is crucial in order to ensure that the lost revenues in the JAS-project do not have a negative impact on other planned equipment acquisitions.
By 2024, as in accordance with the Defence Commission’s proposals, the military units and allocation of equipment acquisitions will be more than SEK 5.5 billion than previously estimated. In the coming budget year, preparation of the government bill on the direction of the Swedish defence policy, due to be presented to the Riksdag in spring 2015, will be critical in further assessments.
In light of the Defence Commission’s analysis, a defence policy resolution that steers the organization of the Swedish Armed Forces should be adopted. The Government is working to create a broad majority in the Riksdag on this point.
Another priority in this budget will be the deepening of the Finnish-Swedish bilateral cooperation, which falls in line with the Statement of Government Policy. Through deeper cooperation between Sweden and Finland, we will jointly strengthen accountability for security and stability in our part of Europe. Sweden has emphasized that Swedish units should contribute within the UN, EU and NATO international forces registers. This, like other cooperative efforts within the Nordic region, EU, UN and NATO, increases capabilities within the Swedish Armed Forces’ and improves interoperability.