The Union and the coalition have agreed on the legal basis for the planned special fund of 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr agreed. In principle, this gives the green light for arms orders from the armaments industry on a large scale.
“An initiative to accelerate the Procurement under way”, said representatives of the SPD, Greens, FDP, CDU and CSU in a joint statement on Sunday evening after more than three hours of negotiations. The negotiators refrained from making a previously expected appearance in front of journalists.
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 27. Massive rearmament announced in the Bundestag in February: The budget will be provided with a one-off special fund of 100 billion euros for investments in armaments projects; More than two percent of gross domestic product is invested in defense every year. Because the special fund is to be anchored in the Basic Law, a two-thirds majority is required in the Bundestag and Bundesrat. That is why the coalition is dependent on the votes of the opposition.
In their statement distributed by the Ministry of Finance, the Politicians said: “Together we will ensure that the Bundeswehr will be strengthened in the coming years with 100 billion euros in additional investments.” The so-called two percent goal of NATO will be achieved “on average over several years”.
SPD leader Saskia Esken had already announced in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”: “We will not achieve the two percent target equally every year.” If you order large equipment today, you won’t get it for three or four years. “The amounts may not be that great for the first two years, and then there comes a year when a great deal becomes necessary.”
Use of the money
This was probably the main point of contention until the end. The Union wanted to make it clear that the special fund will only be used for the Bundeswehr. An initially planned formulation – “to strengthen alliance and defense capability” – was too unspecific for her. The Greens in particular wanted the money to be used to finance cyber defense and support for partner countries.
The federal budget should not be used for this purpose, but rather the federal budget. The government will present a strategy to strengthen security in the cyber and information space. “Necessary measures for cyber security, civil protection and for the upgrading and stabilization of partners are financed from the federal budget,” said the negotiators around Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP).
Further details of the agreement
With the planned law for the establishment of the special fund, an economic plan with the specific procurement projects should also be decided, the Union and the coalition further agreed. “Its realization will be accompanied by an advisory body of the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag.”
The agreement provides for the following for the future: “After the special fund has been used, the necessary funds will continue to be used to achieve the then valid NATO capability goals.” After the claim, the repayment begins “within a reasonable period of time”.
Scholz’ justification for the upgrade
During a conversation with citizens in his Potsdam constituency on Sunday, Scholz said that the special fund was needed for a strong Bundeswehr. “It is necessary so that nobody dares to attack us or our allies,” he said. “Of course, if you’ve broken a contract, you have to fear that the idea often comes up,” said Scholz, referring to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
Two -Percent target not in the Basic Law
In the run-up, the government factions had said that compliance with the two-percent target should probably not be anchored in the Basic Law, like the Union had suggested this in the first place. This point was left open in the result paper.
Problem: The gross domestic product (GDP) is not yet known when the budget is set – one does not know at this point in time whether the target will end with the budget plans is complied with or not. The Federal Statistical Office reports the result of calculations on GDP around 15 days after the end of a year.
Negotiations under time pressure
The defense policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Alexander Müller, had told the dpa: “The special fund must be in the Basic Law before the summer break, because otherwise we will lose a lot of time.” Before the industry hires new staff and orders materials and preliminary products, they want to be sure that the funds are also legally secured. “The necessary ships, vehicles and protective vests are not in the shop window, but have to be produced again.”
SPD faction leader Rolf Mützenich had in his answer to the question by when an agreement would be reached referred to this week’s scheduled adoption of the budget. “It makes sense to also decide on the special fund,” he told the “Passauer Neue Presse”. (dpa)