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Scholz: “Germany will soon have the largest conventional army in Europe”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. / AFP

The federal chancellor assures that he will modernize the armed forces to the maximum within a period of five years

After decades of savings and massive disarmament in its armed forces, Germany is preparing to invest massively in re-equipping its army to make it the most powerful in the old continent. “Germany will soon have the largest conventional army in Europe within the framework of NATO,” Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten and Stuttgarter Zeitung newspapers today. After highlighting the extraordinary budget of 100,000 million euros approved by the three parties of the government coalition – Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Liberals (FDP) – after arduous negotiations with the conservative opposition of Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian Social Christians (CSU) Scholz stressed that this is a radical shift in German security policy, which will “significantly strengthen” the military might of its armed forces.

The head of the German government indicated that he hopes that this very week the Bundestag, the federal parliament, will approve with the necessary two-thirds majority thanks to the agreement with the conservatives of the constitutional reform that will allow this extraordinary expense to be made during the next five years. The pact was reached after negotiations in which, among others, the Finance Minister, the liberal Christian Lindner, the Foreign Minister, the environmentalist Annalena Baerbock and the Defense Minister, Christine Lambrecht, as well as several prominent members of the opposition participated. conservative and the inspector general of the Federal Army, General Eberhard Zorn. Scholz thus fulfills the promise made three days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February, when he announced that the 2022 national budgets will include an extraordinary spending of 100,000 million euros for military purposes.

“These means will be used for the necessary investments and the rearmament of the armed forces. From now on, we will invest more than 2% of our GDP in our defense from year to year,” the Federal Chancellor stated at the time. Lambrecht also declared on Monday that his ministry’s budget will increase this year by more than 7% to reach 50.3 billion euros. Olaf Scholz stressed that with the financial package for military purposes approved together with the main opposition party, Germany “will be able to fulfill its defense commitment better than ever and will be able to make its contribution to the Atlantic Alliance so that we can defend ourselves against any external aggression.” . The initiative of his government will help “the security of Germany and Europe to be greater and is the appropriate response to the change of era that has begun with the Russian attack on Ukraine.”

The head of the federal government also rejected criticism for allegedly insufficient military support from this country to Ukraine. “We have supplied weapons and we will continue to supply weapons,” Scholz said in the interview with the two Stuttgart newspapers, in which he recalled that at the end of July and after their completion fifty “Gepard” battle tanks will be delivered and that Ukrainian military are currently being trained in the German Palatinate in the handling of heavy self-propelled howitzers «Panzerhaubitze 2000». He also stressed that Germany has agreed with several partners in Eastern Europe such as the Czech Republic or Slovenia to deliver Soviet «T72» tanks to Ukraine, which will be replaced in those countries by German-developed tanks such as the «Leopard ».

The federal chancellor stressed that Germany’s allies are well aware that “the federal army does not have a surplus of heavy military vehicles in operation that can be sent immediately” to Ukraine and admitted that it is “a big problem” that the army of this country “is structurally underfunded since 2010”, which “still limits our defensive capacity”. This will change radically with the extraordinary budget of 100,000 million euros approved now, Scholz pointed out.

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