Bundeswehr budget: special funds in danger – domestic politics

Emergency call from the Deputy Inspector General of the German Armed Forces!

► On Monday, Markus Laubenthal (59) said during the hearing of experts on the so-called special assets of the Bundeswehr (100 billion euros in debt outside the official public treasury): “Special assets alone are not enough .” “immediate action”. BUT: “We need lasting financial security.”

Background: With the help of the Union, the government wants to decide on a special debt pot in order to finally put Germany on the defensive.

According to Laubenthal, however, this should only be spent on top of the Bundeswehr budget.

Former Defense Secretary Rüdiger Wolf (70) also sounded the alarm: “If you decide on a special fund of 100 billion for the Bundeswehr and at the same time do not keep an eye on the plan individual 14 (budget of the Bundeswehr) with its high operating budget expenses, then you favor the downfall of individual plan 14.”

► Its justification: The new acquisitions would tie up so much additional infrastructure, qualified personnel, stocks of spare parts and ammunition that the operating budget would be “strangled”.

Problem: Finance Minister Christian Lindner (43, FDP) has still not presented a plan on what and how exactly this special debt pot should be used.

Now the Union, whose votes are needed for the project, is increasing the pressure. It requires a clear commitment that the NATO objective will be achieved immediately and permanently.

This means that Germany should spend 2% of German economic output (gross domestic product) annually on defence. Currently, it would be 70 billion euros.

Foreign expert Johann Wadephul (59, CDU) told BILD: “We will only approve the special fund if the money is only used for the Bundeswehr and the defense budget is permanently increased to at least 2%. The Minister of Finance must know: we do not accept adjustments outside the budget.”

The Panzerhaubitzen 2000 (PzH 2000) of the Bundeswehr are driven to the loading area of ​​the Hindenburg barracks.  Germany to deliver seven Panzerhaubitz 2000s to UkraineFoto: Philipp Schulze/dpa

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The Panzerhaubitzen 2000 (PzH 2000) of the Bundeswehr are driven to the loading area of ​​the Hindenburg barracks. Germany to deliver seven Panzerhaubitz 2000s to UkrainePhoto: Philipp Schulze/dpa

► Chief Governor Helge Braun (49, CDU) also clarifies: For the Union, it is “essential that the funds for the Bundeswehr in the federal budget itself increase from 50 billion to 70 billion euros – and thereby achieving the 2% target”.

Background: Lindner currently foresees only 50 billion euros (1.5% of GDP) for the Ministry of Defense in the state budget. Germany would only reach the 2% mark if significant funds came from the special fund and were included.

The Union’s concern: as soon as the special fund is exhausted, the quota will fall well below the 2% promised by NATO. The Union’s parliamentary group, Deputy Mathias Middelberg (57, CDU), warns of a red light: “It must be clear that the NATO objective will be achieved even after the expiry of the special fund.”

Zoff is pre-programmed

Zoff is therefore inevitable, because Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (41, Greens) had questioned the 2% target in the “Spiegel”: a less significant target of 2% should NOT be enshrined in law fundamental.

► Still in the SPD, the two percent are rejected by the left wing. Ralf Stegner (62) to BILD: “I am against codifying parts of the budget in the constitution.” This binds the parliaments of the future and leads “to a militarization of the debate”.

The leader of the SPD’s parliamentary group, Rolf Mützenich (62), had already made this clear in the Bundestag at the end of March: “The SPD is still of the opinion that it is not enough to increase arms expenditure to prevent war, and that certainly does not include prescribing to future generations how much such spending should be as the Union wishes.

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