Mikael Odenberg resigns

Reductions in defence materiel costs amounting to SEK 3-4 billion are possible in the longer term, according to the Cabinet Office. This led to the resignation on Wednesday afternoon of the Swedish defence minister Mikael Odenberg." I just cannot accept this policy," Mikael Odenberg told a press conference.

According to Mikael Odenberg, it is the planned reconsideration of defence projects that caused him to resign. He says that the Government in its forthcoming budget statement will be proposing reductions amounting to SEK 4-5 billion in defence funding.

"You cannot just take away five billion without it having an operational effect. Defence may cost five, 40, 60 or 80 billion. It all depends on what tasks we want the Armed Forces to carry out. Instead we are now disconnecting defence funding from the operational tasks and prejudging the outcome of the process I have been working on."

In a press release on Wednesday afternoon, the Government announced its intention to appoint a working group to review defence costs. The Government considers that it will be possible to reduce defence materiel costs by SEK 3-4 billion in the longer term.

According to Mikael Odenberg, these cuts, if made, will have far-reaching consequences. It will be difficult, or even impossible, to realise our ambition for increased participation in international operations.
"We will also find it difficult to take the lead as planned in one of the EU's battlegroups in 2011."

"Being a minister is not a job, it is doing one's best in a position of trust. One must believe in what one does. I want to be able to face myself in the mirror and to look our military personnel in the eye. That is why I have taken this decision," says Mikael Odenberg who now also intends to relinquish his parliamentary seat.

Mikael Odenberg did his national service with the Coast Artillery, KA 4, in Gothenburg. He then attended a cadet course and was promoted as a reserve officer. He currently holds the rank of Major as a reserve officer with the Amphibious Regiment based at Berga. In 1994 he attended a management course at the Swedish National Defence College.

During the period 1976-1991 Odenberg was a County Councillor prior to his election to parliament. Between 2003 and 2006 he served as a leader of the Moderate Party parliamentary group.