German defence minister calls for faster increase in military spending
9 May 2018
The initial budget of the Social Democratic Finance Minister Olaf Scholz planned to increase military spending over the next legislative period by at least €5.5 billion. Since the figures were announced last week, there has been an aggressive campaign by politicians and the media aimed at increasing military spending much faster and more comprehensively.
On May 2, in a statement on “the parameters of the 2019 federal budget and the financial plan up to 2022,” Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) stated, “The benchmark for the 2019 financial year is the initial basis for completing the government bill on trend reversals in [military] personnel and materiel.” For the following years, “further significant increases in defence spending are necessary.”
Where von der Leyen had initially brought the sum of €12 billion into play, she is now going even further. The current budget proposal “does not even cover a quarter of the existing needs,” she wrote in a letter to the defence and budgetary politicians of the grand coalition, according to Bild newspaper. There were “further significant increases necessary in defence spending.” Otherwise, “trend reversals in personnel and materiel” could not be continued.
In the coalition agreement, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats pledged to raise defence spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2024. Now, influential military brass are openly saying what sums of money this concerns. Retired General Egon Ramms told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk at the weekend, “with a view to the next ten years…let’s assume that we have a need somewhere in the order of…