Sweden Introduces Military Conscription for Men, Women

Sweden Introduces Military Conscription for Men, Women
Sweden Introduces Military Conscription for Men, Women

Sweden’s left-leaning government introduced a military draft for both men and women on Thursday because of what its defense minister called a deteriorating security environment in Europe and around Sweden.

Sweden abolished compulsory military service for men in 2010 because there were enough volunteers to meet its military needs. It has never had a military draft for women, AP reported.

The government said “the all-volunteer recruitment hasn’t provided the Armed Forces with enough trained personnel. The reactivating of conscription is needed for military readiness.”

In September, non-NATO-member Sweden stationed permanent troops on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland. Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist described the move as sending a signal after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its “increasing pressure” on the neighboring Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

About 20,000 people now work for the Swedish armed forces, 84% of them men and 16% women, according to the forces’ website. But the armed forces lack 1,000 active troops as well as 7,000 reservists, according to Sweden’s coalition government of Social Democrats and Greens.

On Tuesday, Micael Byden, the head of Sweden’s armed forces, said an additional 6.5 billion kronor ($718 million), or a 15% budget boost, was needed to increase the country’s military capabilities in the coming years. This was to be added to the 45 billion kronor ($5 billion) the government had earmarked for 2017.

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