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Norway becomes latest European state to boost defence spending

FILE - Norwegian soldiers at military parade ceremony marking the 105th anniversary of the Lithuanian military on Armed Forces Day in Vilnius, Lithuania, Nov. 25, 2023
FILE - Norwegian soldiers at military parade ceremony marking the 105th anniversary of the Lithuanian military on Armed Forces Day in Vilnius, Lithuania, Nov. 25, 2023 Copyright Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Daniel Bellamy with AP
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Earlier this month, oil-rich Norway said it wants to increase the number of conscripted soldiers from 9,000 to 13,500 by 2036.

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The Norwegian centre-left government announced on Friday plans for “a historic increase” in military expenditure of 52 billion euros over the next 12 years.

“We need a defence that is fit for purpose in the emerging security environment," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said.

"As our security environment is deteriorating, we need to spend more on and pay more attention to defence and preparedness," he continued. 

Gahr Støre added that his two-party government wants to spend a total of 140 billion euros between now and 2036.

He also detailed that NATO-member Norway wants to buy at least five new frigates and submarines, plus the Scandinavian nation’s first long-range air defence system, and expand the army from one to three brigades.

Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum said the increase would be made “without a cut in people’s public services” and the proposed spending would create jobs and investments in Norway.

Gahr Støre said Norway “is no threat to anyone, nor is NATO. But we must have the capability to defend ourselves if crisis and war occur.”

His coalition, which includes his own social democratic Labor party and the left-leaning Centre Party, is expected to win support for the proposal in the 169-seat Storting assembly. 

No date for a vote was set.

Earlier this month, oil-rich Norway said it wants to increase the number of conscripted soldiers from the present 9,000 to 13,500 by 2036.

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