Political Economy


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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.Obama to Sweden
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 something else.
"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
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 Dagens Industri.

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.
Scancomark.com Team

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