EU partner: Lindner in the Baltics: Prioritize defense

EU partner: Lindner in the Baltics: Prioritize defense

The Federal Minister of Finance assures our partners in the Baltics that Germany will also significantly increase its defense spending in the long term. The protection of Germany and the alliance is an urgent task.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) wants to focus on defense spending when it comes to government spending. Germany stands by NATO’s goal of two percent of economic output, said Lindner in Riga at a meeting with his Latvian counterpart Arvils Aseradens.

Both also assured that they wanted to continue supporting Ukraine against the Russian war of aggression. At the same time, our own military capabilities would have to be improved.

“These are big challenges, because our budgets will have to be restructured in the next few years. This also leads to competition between different good intentions,” said Lindner, who is obviously insisting on cuts in other areas. Politics is always rich in good goals, he said. “But we have to set a priority now: that is strengthening our ability to defend our alliance and our country.”

In Riga he assured that Germany would also meet the two percent target through the phase of the special program in the Basic Law – the so-called special fund worth 100 billion euros. Lindner said that this was an important prerequisite for the Bundeswehr “as a very large, powerful army to be able to make its contribution to the defense of the alliance as a whole.”

Lindner will speak to his counterparts from the three EU and NATO partners in the Baltics until Friday about financial policy issues and the political situation. The first stops were Latvia and Estonia. Talks are planned for Friday in Lithuania, where Germany is the leading nation (“Framework Nation”) of the NATO presence to secure the alliance’s eastern flank. The federal government has also promised to station an entire combat-ready brigade with around 4,000 German soldiers in the country. Lithuania says it has started building the infrastructure. Germany will also likely face additional costs.

Anti-money laundering authority in Riga or Frankfurt?

Lindner also met young company founders in Riga who told him about the practice of making it easier for companies to register and tax relief for such start-ups. The Finance Minister in Latvia said he was a guest in a country that was innovative and wanted a solidly financed state. There is actually only disagreement on the question of where the European anti-money laundering authority should be based in the future. That’s why Latvia is applying with Riga and Germany with Frankfurt/Main.

Aseradens argued that European fiscal rules should not stand in the way of higher defense spending. One conceivable option is not to count one-off higher procurement costs for expensive weapon systems against the EU deficit limits.

Source: Stern

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