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Ukraine debate: Minister of Finance Lindner ready to take on new debt to upgrade the Bundeswehr

2022-02-27T12:41:46.873Z

In view of Putin's campaign, the traffic light coalition wants to invest 100 billion in the Bundeswehr. Finance Minister Christian Lindner has considered the army "neglected" for years. He still wants to comply with the debt brake.



Enlarge image

Christian Lindner in the Bundestag: "We expect the opposition to support the federal government"

Photo: Chris Emil Janssen / IMAGO

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has agreed to take on new debt in order to finance the modernization of the Bundeswehr.

The debate about strengthening military capability should not be conducted "with the warning of new debts," said Lindner on Sunday in a special session of the Bundestag.

The 100 billion euros planned by the federal government for the Bundeswehr are "in this world situation, initially investments in our freedom," emphasized Lindner.

Nevertheless, he confirmed that the federal government is sticking to its goal of reinstating the debt brake.

The money for the Bundeswehr is not to be financed from the current budget, but from a special fund that is to be laid down in the Basic Law.

The purpose is “only and exclusively to strengthen our ability to form alliances”.

"You can't correct a neglect of the Bundeswehr for at least 15 years from the current budget," said the FDP leader.

Defense spending to increase

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had previously announced in his government statement that, in view of the Russian invasion, a special fund should be made available for the Bundeswehr.

The aim is an efficient, highly modern and progressive Bundeswehr.

"But let's not fool ourselves: better equipment, modern equipment, more staff - that costs a lot of money," said Scholz.

He also stressed that defense spending should be raised to two percent of annual economic output.

This is not only happening because it was promised to the Allies.

"We're also doing this for ourselves, for our own security." Most recently, Germany was at 1.55 percent and therefore very far from the target.

more on the subject

  • Government statement on the Ukraine war: Scholz promises 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr

  • Chancellor Scholz's government statement: "The war will also prove to be a catastrophe for Russia"

  • Germany's U-turn on arms deliveries: "This is certainly not the end of the sanctions against Russia"

Lindner asked the Union and the federal states to approve the planned special fund.

The approval of the Union and the federal states is necessary for the anchoring planned by the government in the Basic Law.

The FDP leader wants to present the budget for 2022 to the cabinet on March 9th.

"We expect the opposition to support the federal government," said Lindner.

The Federal Minister of Finance pointed out that the tough sanctions against Russia "will also have a negative impact on us".

"You are the price of freedom," he said.

The sanctions agreed against Russia are permanent.

"We need staying power, we have this staying power." With Russia, there will be "no more business as usual."

Lindner had previously repeatedly pointed out the lack of equipment in the German armed forces.

"Strengthening defense capability is moving from a side issue to a central future project," he wrote on Twitter.

"We will deliver the largest and fastest increases in defense spending in recent history."

"The Bundeswehr is more or less blank"

Although there was broad agreement on the matter, the opposition expressed doubts about Lindner's financing plans.

Union faction leader Friedrich Merz advocated better equipment for the Bundeswehr.

However, he emphasized that a special fund first of all means taking on new debts: "We then have to talk about it calmly and in detail."

The Bundeswehr Association had recently called for an immediate program to improve the equipment of the troops.

There are massive problems in the areas of ammunition, vehicles, ships, aircraft and spare parts.

Army inspector Alfons Mais sounded the alarm on Thursday about the equipment of the Bundeswehr.

In his 41st year of service in peacetime, he did not believe that he would have to experience another war: "And the Bundeswehr, the army that I am allowed to lead, is more or less empty."

fok/AFP/dpa/Reuters

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-02-27

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