On Sunday, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced that Sweden will be part of the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) and participate in air policing over the Baltics.
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The Scandinavian country, which last year decided to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is also prepared to participate in air policing above the Black Sea and Iceland, he said at an annual defense and security policy conference in Salen.
Spearheaded by Germany, the ESSI, launched at a NATO defense ministers' meeting in October 2022, aims to create a European air and missile defence system through the common acquisition of air defence equipment and missiles by European nations, and to strengthen NATO's Integrated Air and Missile Defence.
Sweden and Finland simultaneously submitted their formal requests to join NATO in May 2022. But so far, two NATO allies, Hungary and Türkiye, have yet to ratify their accession protocols.
On Monday, the Swedish government also announced its intention to reinstate compulsory civil service, which was abolished in 2008. Kristersson said this decision is part of a project to strengthen national defense. He mentioned that the Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) should have a plan focused on subnational emergency services.
"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 great pressure."
The reestablishment of the civil service means that Swedish citizens can be called upon to support the authorities in areas such as emergencies or health to guarantee their proper functioning in the event of an alert or war.