Luik acknowledges Sweden’s efforts to improve its defensive capabilities

On Friday Luik met with the Swedish defense minister, Peter Hultqvist, and commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Gen. Micael Byden on Friday. The defense ministers discussed the security situation in the Baltic Sea region and the Aurora exercise as well as the ongoing Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad 2017.

Aurora 17 is the first bigger exercise of the Swedish Armed Forces since the early 1990s. The exercise will take place on the island of Gotland as well as around Stockholm and Göteborg. A platoon of the Saaremaa district of the Estonian Defence League will take part in the exercise along with the Estonian diver and support vessel Wambola.

The ministers also discussed bilateral cooperation in the area of defense.

Hultqvist gave Luik an overview of the planned efforts to increase Sweden’s defense spending over the next three years. The government is planning to allocate additional funds in the amount of 8.1 billion Swedish kronor (about €850 million) to strengthening the military. In addition, Sweden will reintroduce mandatory military service next year.

Luik also met with ambassadors of EU and NATO member states in Sweden to give them an overview of the recent meeting of EU defense ministers that took place in Tallinn as well as of the latest developments in European defense cooperation.

According to secretary general of Sweden’s Ministry of Defense, Jan Salestrand, Sweden supports stronger defense cooperation within Europe, provided the efforts don’t duplicate NATO’s activities.

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