Minister of Defense: Lambrecht calls for a higher defense budget

Secretary of Defense
Lambrecht calls for a higher defense budget

Christine Lambrecht calls for more money for the Bundeswehr. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/dpa

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The new defense minister presents her plans to the Bundestag. The equipment of the Bundeswehr is to be comprehensively modernized according to Christine Lambrecht.

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht sees Europe facing major security policy challenges and calls for a continued increase in the defense budget.

“Our defense spending must continue to increase. We need this money to provide our troops with the necessary material,” said the SPD politician on Friday at the start of a debate in the Bundestag. It was the new minister’s first major speech on her plans for the Bundeswehr.

Lambrecht complained that there were too many problems with the equipment. “Helicopters that don’t fly and guns that don’t hit the target have often been the subject of ridicule,” Lambrecht said. “I will thoroughly modernize procurement.”

The minister described the Bundeswehr as a highly motivated force and thanked them for their Corona help. But it shouldn’t stop at words: That’s why it’s being checked whether allowances, like those for the police, could also be paid for soldiers.

Commitment to the NATO allies in Eastern Europe

Lambrecht announced resolute action and zero tolerance for any form of extremism in the troops. “We will consistently pursue extremists and remove them from the Bundeswehr very quickly,” she promised.

Lambrecht addressed a warning to Russia in the event of an attack on Ukraine. At the same time, she rejected Moscow’s demands for a halt to NATO expansion. “Russia has no veto when it comes to alliance issues and cannot blackmail us here,” she said. But there is a lot of leeway between the red lines and a military conflict that needs to be used. “We must exhaust all means to defuse this conflict.”

Lambrecht said NATO and the EU must be very close, especially since Europe’s security is facing major challenges. “The security of our allies is our security, also and especially in Central and Eastern Europe,” she emphasized. “The Russian march on the Ukrainian border violates all the rules of peaceful coexistence.” Moscow must respect international law.

And there are also challenges beyond Europe. “Germany stands by its responsibility for peace in Europe and the world,” said Lambrecht. The Federal Government and the Bundestag owe it to the men and women in the armed forces to weigh up the high personal commitment involved in foreign missions wisely and prudently. Therefore, every such mission must be evaluated and checked for success, and a possible end of the mission must be carefully prepared. In the case of the Afghanistan mission, for example, the lack of a suitable “exit strategy” was blamed on the troop command.

CDU and AfD share the goals

Foreign missions should also not be narrowed down to the military, said Lambrecht. At the political level, for example, it should be checked who is being supported and trained in the countries and whether this is compatible with one’s own goals. Lambrecht demanded a return to democracy from the military junta in Mali, where the Bundeswehr is involved in two international operations. The West African country must hold new elections quickly and not in five years. “If nothing changes in Mali, there can’t be a simple “keep it up” there.”

Criticism of the plans of the traffic light coalition came from the opposition, but also recognition for the goals formulated by Lambrecht. The CSU defense politician Florian Hahn suggested to Lambrecht to continue the defense policy – which he described as successful – with which the Union had shaped the department. AfD MP Rüdiger Lucassen said he had no great expectations, but would like to be proven wrong and then admit it in the Bundestag if Lambrecht should advance the Bundeswehr as announced. From his point of view, a reduction in the size of the troops would in any case be an “oath of disclosure”. The left-wing parliamentarian Ali Al-Dailami, on the other hand, called for a higher defense budget and the armament of drones agreed by the traffic light coalition partners to be dispensed with.


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