"We're very concerned about developments in Russia, Putin's aggressive policy, the ongoing military build-up and Russia's offensive and aggressive behavior in the Baltic region, also against our country. This we have to parry,and that means we need to strengthen the defense," Björklund told Swedish Radio.
According to Björklund, the defensive effort by the current red-green alliance government (comprised of the Social Democrats and the Green) is severely underfunded and "too hollow."
"We believe ours is a good proposal, and unlike the government, we believe we also have the funding," Jan Björklund defended his stance.
Currently, Sweden's yearly military budget is 41 billion krona (roughly 5 billion dollars), which amounts to 1.15 percent of the country's GDP. In 2014, a significant military budget increase was pushed through by the Defense Ministry on account of Russia's "aggression" in Ukraine, the takeover of the Crimean peninsula, as well as a series of "confirmed" submarine violations in Sweden's territorial waters. The Liberals' proposal, however, goes far beyond the red-green coalition government's strategy.
Historically positioned in the middle of the Swedish political landscape, the Liberals (formerly known as the People's Party) have been willing to cooperate with both left and right, but have since the mid-2000s developed a conservative inclination, pushing Sweden towards NATO and the Eurozone. The Liberals were part of the previous conservative government under Fredrik Reinfeldt. In the 2014 elections, the party received just 5.4 percent of the vote and joined the opposition.