On the brink of joining NATO, Sweden seeks to boost its defense spending by 28%

STOCKHOLM (AP): The Swedish government said Monday it wants to increase its defense budget by 28%, putting it on track to reach the military spending target 2% of gross domestic product set by the NATO alliance, which the Scandinavian country is preparing to join.

“We are in the most serious security policy situation since the end of World War II, which requires Sweden to have a defense that is ready to protect Swedish territory,” defense minister Pål Jonson said.

Unveiling a defense bill for 2024, Sweden’s center-right coalition government said military spending would increase by a total of 27 billion kronor ($2.4 billion). Of that amount, approximately 700 million kronor ($63 million) will be spent on Sweden’s future membership of NATO.