Monday, 8 July 2024.

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German military rep slams size of defence spending in draft budget

The proposed increase in defence spending earmarked in Germany’s 2025 draft budget is nowhere near enough to “do justice” to the current security situation nor to “Germany’s responsibility to the world,” the head of the German Armed Forces Association has said.

André Wüstner, the chairman of the organization which represents the interests of some 200,000 active soldiers, reservists and former army members, told dpa: “The German government may want to get through this legislative period with this budget, but the Bundeswehr as an essential part of our security architecture – and therefore all of us – are paying the price.”

Under the terms of the preliminary 2025 national budget agreed on Friday, German military spending is set to increase by only €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion), far below the roughly €7 billion demanded by Defence Minister Boris Pistorius.

The leaders of Germany’s coalition government reached a breakthrough on the national budget after weeks of difficult negotiations culminated in consultations throughout the night on Thursday.

With Finance Minister Christian Lindner of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) refusing to release the country’s debt brake on government expenditure, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) ruling out cuts to welfare spending, Germany’s armed forces appear to have lost out, just two years after Scholz announced a historic rearmament programme.

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Wüstner described the security situation in Europe as “the most dangerous since the fall of the Iron Curtain,” citing political instability and a lack of certainty regarding Washington’s commitment to Europe’s security in case November’s presidential elections result in a second Donald Trump presidency.

Wüstner called on parliament to make “massive adjustments” to the draft budget.

He said, additional funding was needed to cover “the dramatic rise in operating expenses – from power generators to operating supplies and special tool kits to personnel.”

In addition, without further investment in the defence industry, the recently launched expansion of capacity would quickly begin to stall again, Wüstner said.

dpa

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