Tuesday February 27, 2024

Scholz vows to spend 2% of GDP on military into the 2030s

Published : 11 Nov 2023, 01:22

  DF News Desk
File Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday promised the country's military chiefs he will spend significantly more on defence in the longer term, reported dpa.

Scholz said a special fund of €100 billion for the Bundeswehr is only "a first important step," during a Bundeswehr conference.

He was referring to the government's special fund set up to modernize the military after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moscow's war raised questions about the readiness of Germany's military and led European governments to reassess their defence strategies.

Scholz on Friday guaranteed 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) would be spent on defence "permanently," giving a timeframe of the 2020s and 2030s.

The 2% figure is a goal of the NATO defence alliance. To reach this goal, Berlin would have to spend more than €20 billion on defence each year.

Scholz confirmed that Germany would reach NATO's 2% goal for the first time next year. "We will guarantee this 2% in the long term, throughout the 20s and 30s. I say that very deliberately, because of course some of the things you might order now will be delivered in the 30s."

Beyond funding, Scholz said, "the central action that follows from the turning point is overcoming the organizational and bureaucratic sluggishness that has slowed down the troops for years."

"The global political situation confirms how important and necessary this change of course is," said Scholz, pointing to the Kremlin's war on Ukraine and also the brutal attacks carried out by Islamist Hamas movement on Israel last month that triggered another war in the Middle East.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It threatens our entire post-war order," Scholz said in the days after the invasion in February last year.

On Friday he underlined the fact that powerful armed forces are necessary and conceded that Germany had "evaded this question for a long time."

But now, though, the global peace is under threat, he said.

The government is to discuss the future course of the armed forces with military leaders at the Bundeswehr conference, with topics including the planned transfer of a brigade to Lithuania and reorganizing the Ministry of Defence.

The talks come a day after Defence Minister Boris Pistorius presented his new defence policy guidelines, which define national and alliance defence as a core task and declare war capability as a guiding principle.