In response to a growing threat from Russia and numerous threats, including an ongoing one from ISIS, Sweden and other EU countries are proposing (and some have passed) an increase in military budgets to help combat the threats.
Sweden will increase its military spending, to $1.13 billion which will be spread out from 2016 until 2020. “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 part of that strategy,” Swedish Defense Minister, Peter Hultqvist said recently.
Sweden and Europe (most notably Eastern Europe), have faced increased threats from an ambitious Russia, and the threat of the Islamic state and lone wolf attacks. Just these past couple of weeks, there have been numerous instances of stabbings, and of cars plowing into people (incidents in Spain and France in the same week.). The violence has also come from migrants who have flooded the EU in response to the “Arab Spring,” and the ongoing Syrian Civil war.
“We will now analyse and continue the discussions and get back to how we handle this,” Hultqvist continued referring to the increase in military spending for the upcoming years.
The threat has also come from a resurgent Russia who is being accused of backing and supplying Pro-Russian separatist in Ukraine after a civil war broke out a couple of years ago.
Sweden isn’t the only country who is increasing its military spending as Poland, will increase its military budget by two percent in 2018. Russia has been accused of helping pro-Moscow militias in Ukraine and annexing Crimea in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, and causing the civil war which is ongoing to this day.
“This level of defense spending must be sustained because it holds our strength, but also strengthens our reputation,” Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said regarding the increase in spending.
The increase in spending will bring the total spent on defense to, 27.6 billion in EU terms or 30.1 billion in U.S dollars.
Russia has also been accused of interfering in the U.S and French elections, with emphasis on spreading false news.
Along with Sweden and Poland increasing their military spending, the EU as a whole, will also be increasing their military budget for the foreseeable future. “The fact the commission together with member states are ready to move forward to have real money and real resources is very positive,” former Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Paet (who is also a member of parliament.).
The EU has proposed a 25 million (in EU terms), for military equipment and readiness, which is set to take effect by the end of 2017. The budget also provides funds for future research missions for new weapons and technology.
“The real test is going to be on defense and not on the Euro,” an EU diplomat who asked to remain anonymous.
Britain, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy have contributed the most to the military in terms of people. However, Britain’s exit from the EU may mess that up once Brexit becomes final.
In conclusion, it should be remembered throughout history, even though Russia was on the Allied side during World War two, they committed thousands of atrocities under the former Soviet Union and subjugated millions of peoples, and restricted freedom for those people until the end of the 1990s. and they should be a threat that is taken seriously.
Links to sources:
- Politico: https://www.politico.eu/article/after-years-of-talk-eu-plans-defense-spending-spree/
- The News. Pl: https://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/304138,Poland-to-increase-defence-spending
- Al Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/sweden-boosts-2017-military-spending-55m-170313164719600.html