Obama's visit to Sweden would be an extra burden to the Swedish taxpayer! Let the Whining begin
Thursday, 08 August 2013
Yesterday the Swedish media houses gladly ran the news that the US
president Barack Obama will make a stop over visit to Sweden on his way
to Russia in September. It turned out that Sweden was considered a
strong American friend, they wrote. Then today the whining starts about
the cost of managing the leader of the free world and the most powerful
man on earth.
President Obama's visit to Sweden will not be a cheap deal. An
estimated 2,500 police officers are expected to stretch the security
arrangements and carry other several safety measures.
US President Barack Obama / img/ White House
The announcement of the visit as reported in the Swedish press is said
to contain much confusion as to whether the visits is state visit or
"Remarkable. It will be the first bilateral visit by an American
president to Sweden, "wrote Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on his
Twitter account shortly after the White House's press release about the
impending state visit was made.
But it is reported again in the Swedish media that according to the
Baltic news agency BNS, the plan is to hold a summit of the Baltic and
Nordic leaders in Stockholm. But no official program is yet clear and
the information from the Swedish authorities have been scarce.
Carl Bildt stated that talks about his visit to Sweden has been running for a long time.
The last time an American president was in Sweden, was Obama's
predecessor, George W Bush who in 2001 visited Gothenburg in connection
with an EU summit. However, the upcoming visit, which takes place from
September 4 to 5 is of a different nature.
One possible comparison when it comes down to cost is Obama's visit to
Oslo in 2009, when the president received the Nobel Peace Prize. At
that time, 2,500 police officers were on duty and security personnel
were forced to, among others, weld back over 400 manhole covers to
prevent terrorists activities or surprises through the street network,
according to the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
Police Chief of Staff stated then to the paper that Skr163 million
spending money was at his disposal to ensure the safety of the
president and his 700-strong entourage.
Swedish Police / Img/ Scancomark.com
Both the security police, SAPO and Stockholm police are silent on the bill for the U.S. presidential visit.
"Since we do not know the program, or where the president would
stay, one can not have any idea of costs, "says Lars Bystrom, press
spokesman of the Stockholm police according to Swedish business daily
He stated, however, that 2,300 police officers guarded the royal
wedding in 2010, a figure that is thus close to that of Obama's Oslo
visit four years ago.
Whether the total security bill will reach, or near the Skr163
million that Obama's Oslo Visiting cost to Lars Bystrom it remain
uncertain. He gives a little guidance on what the personnel cost of the
police operation may be.
Police efforts at football matches and other costs, according to Lars
Bystrom stand at Skr930 per police an hour. Based on an eight-hour
working day, it means that 2,500 police officers could cost Skr37.2
million for the two days, which Obama will be in Stockholm. The total
cost of security is likely to be considerably higher than that.
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