Norway wants a ‘historic increase’ in defense spending of $56 billion over the next 12 years

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The Norwegian center-left governnment said Friday it plans “a historic increase” in defense spending of 600 billion kroner ($56 billion) over the next 12 years.

“We need a defense 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 defense and preparedness,” Gahr Støre said, adding that his two-party government wants to spend a total of 1.624 trillion kroner ($152 billion) between now and 2036.

He said NATO-member Norway wants to, among other things, buy at least five new frigates and submarines, plus the Scandinavian nation’s first long-range air defense 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 that includes his own social democratic Labor party and the left-leaning Center 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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