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Sweden intends to increase its defense spending to 2.6% of GDP

Sweden intends to increase its defense spending to 2.6% of GDP Illustrative photo (Getty Images)

Sweden intends to increase its military spending to 2.6% relative to the size of its economy by 2030, the newly joined NATO member aiming to surpass the alliance's overall target, reports Bloomberg.

This goal, announced by political parties in the Scandinavian country on Friday, comes against the backdrop of preparations for the risk of Russian aggression extending beyond Ukraine.

Sweden's Defense Commission stated that by 2030, Stockholm plans to add approximately 53 billion kronor (4.9 billion dollars) annually to its military budget. This year, defense funding corresponds to the minimum level of 2% of gross domestic product set by NATO.

The cross-party group, tasked with ensuring broad political consensus, has stated that Sweden should aim to have four army brigades by 2030, instead of the current two, and that it should invest in air defense systems, including measures to counter drone attacks.

Although Sweden began strengthening its defense following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Kremlin's invasion in 2022 has heightened the urgency of bolstering the armed forces, which at the time of the Cold War could mobilize over 10% of the country's population.

Sweden's NATO membership

On May 16, 2022, Sweden and Finland officially applied for NATO membership. This decision marked a significant event signaling substantial changes in the geopolitical landscape of Europe. One of the reasons for the decision to join the alliance was the war in Ukraine and Russia's aggressive rhetoric towards the Baltic countries.

On March 4, 2024, Sweden officially became the 32nd member of the North Atlantic Alliance. It is worth noting that Sweden's path to NATO membership was not without hurdles. Turkiye, as a member of the alliance, opposed Sweden and Finland's accession, citing their support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization.

After lengthy diplomatic negotiations, Turkiye eventually consented to Sweden and Finland's NATO membership. On June 28, 2022, a memorandum was signed in which Sweden and Finland undertook a series of commitments aimed at meeting Turkish demands.

Increase in NATO defense target to 2.5% of GDP

In 2024, the proposal to raise NATO's defense spending target to 2.5% of GDP became one of the key topics in the alliance's discussions.

In particular, the UK Secretary of State for Defense, Grant Shapps, stated that NATO member countries should increase their defense spending to 2.5% of GDP.

Currently, there is a target set in 2014 that obliges member countries to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense.