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After coalition agreement: Pistorius: “The troops must be able to do their job”

After coalition agreement: Pistorius: “The troops must be able to do their job”
After coalition agreement: Pistorius: “The troops must be able to do their job”

On the way to the NATO summit, the Minister of Defense expressed his displeasure over the continued financing of the Bundeswehr. The first priority now is to ensure ongoing operations.

In view of the tight budget in the Bundeswehr, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) wants to focus on ongoing operations for the time being. He has given the clear instruction that the focus in the coming year will be on operational and training capability, Pistorius said on Monday at the US military airfield Eielson in Alaska, where the German Air Force trained with partners from the USA, Spain and France to fight an attacker together.

“The troops must be able to do their job, that’s what matters. That means that all the necessary material must be delivered and replaced. The next few months will show what major projects can or cannot be initiated next year,” said Pistorius. He also made it clear that he does not want to continue the dispute over the draft budget of the traffic light coalition leaders before the NATO summit. Pistorius said: “We are at the beginning of a major exercise. That is the focus. Everything else will be discussed in Berlin in the next few weeks.”

Defense budget only increases by 1.2 billion euros

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) settled the budget dispute that had been simmering for months on Friday night and agreed on key points for the federal budget for 2025. The debt brake will be adhered to, and no budgetary emergency has been identified, for example due to spending on military and humanitarian support for Ukraine. This was important to the FDP and its Finance Minister Christian Lindner.

The defense budget, currently around 52 billion euros, is only to grow by around 1.2 billion euros. Pistorius had called for significantly more and an exemption for these expenses from the debt brake. There has been clear criticism of this, including from the traffic light coalition. Pistorius said of the draft budget: “We will see what happens in the coming weeks and months. I have to prepare for it and make the best of it.”

Inspector General: What use is equipment if soldiers cannot operate it?

“In view of the threat situation, we need a continuation,” said Inspector General Breuer to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. The 100 billion special fund will be fully contractually tied up by the end of the year. With the purchase of new weapons systems, operating costs also increase. “What use is new equipment if the soldiers can’t operate it?” He warned that Russia could also turn against NATO states around 2029, which is why deterrence is so important. “The Russian armed forces are planning to increase their numbers to 1.5 million soldiers, which is more soldiers than in the entire EU.”

The head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND): “We need a discussion about how much security is worth to us and what we are willing to forego if we anchor the two percent in the budget in the long term.”

Habeck: Bundeswehr stocks “empty”

Vice Chancellor Habeck defends the draft budget before the start of his summer trip to Stuttgart: The draft “adheres to the conditions that we have given ourselves in the constitution, i.e. the debt brake. One could perhaps say that the debt brake could only be adhered to in recent years because these large defense expenditures were not adequately financed.” The Merkel government has not achieved the two percent target. “The consequence is that the Bundeswehr’s reserves are empty.” NATO’s official goal is for every country to spend at least two percent of its gross domestic product on defense each year. The financial conditions do not match Germany’s security situation. That is his personal opinion and that of his party, there is no uniformity in the federal government on this.

SPD General Secretary wants a “small summer break”

Kühnert, on the other hand, hopes for calm in the debate. “Concrete discussions about corrections to the budget only make sense once the cabinet’s draft budget has been approved. That will be the case on July 17,” Kühnert told the “Rheinische Post”. “At least until then, Berlin’s political establishment should treat itself and the people of the state to a little summer break.” Kühnert describes the compromise reached by the traffic light leaders as a “good basis” for further budget discussions.

Pistorius informs himself about Air Force manoeuvres before NATO summit

On Monday, fighter pilots from several countries trained under German leadership at Eielson Air Base for air warfare operations in accordance with NATO standards. The scenario is an alliance scenario (“Article 5”), in which an attack on one or more allies is repelled jointly. Around 60 fighter jets and other tanker aircraft, transporters and helicopters are taking part in the exercise. They are practicing the destruction of enemy air defenses, fighting against air forces and destroying command centers. The Special Forces Command (KSK) is also involved with exercises on hostage rescue and directing air attacks from the ground.

Pistorius traveled to Washington immediately afterwards. The NATO summit begins there on Tuesday with celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the defense alliance. It is taking place in a phase of political uncertainty after the suitability of US President Joe Biden as a presidential candidate was publicly questioned. It is unclear where the USA will go if former US President Donald Trump is re-elected in the US election in November. At times he even threatened the USA with a withdrawal from the alliance and criticized Germany in particular.

“75 years of NATO. In view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, this military alliance is as relevant and as significant as ever – and actually, one must say, as it has not been for decades,” said Pistorius in Alaska before continuing his journey. The Inspector of the Air Force, Ingo Gerhartz, described the series of exercises, which also included deployments to the Indo-Pacific region, as “by far the largest and most complex thing we have ever done with the Air Force.”

Source: Stern

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