Sweden announced on Monday its intention to restore compulsory civil serviceremoved in 2008, due to the worsening security situation in the Baltic Sea after The war in Ukraine.
The Swedish prime minister, the conservative Ulf Kristerssonexplained at a press conference that the measure is part of the project to strengthen national defense and that the Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) will be commissioned this Thursday to draw up a plan, which will initially be will focus on municipal emergency services.
“On Thursday, the Government decides to give MSB the task of preparing a civil service activation in Sweden. We are returning to a situation in which we have a formalized civil duty,” Kristersson explained at a press conference with the Defense Minister.
The prime minister justified the decision, already contemplated by the previous Social Democratic government, by the situation in Ukraine: “The civil dimensions of both aggression and defense are critical.”
“We see that these services currently do not have the necessary dimension in the event of an alert or an armed attack. Ukraine’s experiences are clear when it comes to protecting the civilian population and rescue forces under a lot of pressure,” said the Defense Minister, in the same appearance. Carl-Oskar Bohlin.
Civil service means that Swedish citizens can be called upon to perform work to support the authorities in areas such as emergencies or health to guarantee its proper functioning in case of alert or war.
Bohlin explained that you can’t say exactly how many people may be affected initially, but he talked about a figure between 1,500 and 2,000who must go through a training process.
A report prepared last fall by the MSB pointed out that it would be necessary train about 3,000 people for the next five years.
Sweden has promoted several measures in the last decade to strengthen its defense, alluding to tensions with Russia in the region, among which are the reinstatement of compulsory military service in 2017seven years after suspending it.
The new right-wing government, which took power three months ago, has also shown its intention to increase annual military spending to 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) before 2026.
Sweden, along with neighboring Finland, ended its bicentennial military non-alignment last year and applied to join NATO of which it was already an ally and which was approved at the last summit of the Alliance, held at the end of June in Madrid.
However, entry into the alliance is pending ratification by Turkey and Hungary. Precisely, on Sunday, Kristersson recognized that Ankara was setting unacceptable conditions for the Scandinavian government. “Turkey has confirmed that we have done what we had promised, but they also have demands that we cannot and do not want to give them and now the decision falls on the Turks,” he explained at the Society and Defense meeting held on Sunday in Stockholm.