Special assets for the Bundeswehr: Merz threatens to be rejected

Status: 04/24/2022 01:39 am

CDU leader Merz has threatened to reject the federal government’s planned special fund for the Bundeswehr. Chancellor Scholz had to talk to the opposition, he demanded – and formulated several conditions for approval.

The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz has threatened not to approve the planned special fund of 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr. The Union will not be presented with finished results, “which we should then simply agree to,” said Merz of the “Bild am Sonntag”. “If the chancellor wants to persuade us to change the Basic Law and introduce 100 billion euros in new debt, then he has to talk to us.”

Merz calls for a repayment plan

Merz demanded from Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the 100 billion euros “only benefit the upgrading of the Bundeswehr”. In addition, at least two percent of gross domestic product must be spent on defense in the long term. “If these requirements are met and a repayment plan is presented for the new debt, then we can agree,” said Merz.

As the newspaper further reports, a proposal from the Chancellery is currently causing trouble: The Bundeswehr special fund could be submitted to Parliament for a vote without an attached economic plan. The Union sees itself restricted in its right to have a say in individual armaments projects, as the newspaper reported. Criticism of such an approach also comes from the ranks of the governing parties.

Criticism of Scholz course

In the debate about arms deliveries to Ukraine, Merz sharply criticized Chancellor Scholz. He throws “one smoke candle after the other”. said Merz. “He covers up, he doesn’t tell, he only tells half the truth”. Germany is therefore increasingly isolated internationally.

Merz warned that the war would escalate if Ukraine did not receive sufficient military support: “It is precisely the refusal to use heavy weapons that makes the escalation and expansion of this war more and more likely,” said the CDU leader. “The last few years have shown that Putin will keep going if he’s not stopped.”

“Foreign and security policy in ruins”

Merz also acknowledged serious omissions by the Union in equipping the Bundeswehr and called for a review of German foreign and security policy over the past two decades. “In retrospect, we unfortunately have to say that all defense ministers over the past 20 years have made wrong decisions about equipment and the condition of the troops,” he said. “These were serious omissions, also within the Union.”

With a view to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, he stated: “The entire German foreign and security policy of the last 20 years is in ruins. When this war is over, we have to carefully analyze how it happened.” From the CDU leader’s point of view, by 2014 at the latest, after the occupation of Crimea, “Russia would have needed massive sanctions and isolation.”

Apparently decision for Boeing transport helicopters

The “Bild am Sonntag” also reports that the federal government has opted for the “Chinook” CH-47F from Boeing as the new transport helicopter. The Ministry of Defense wants to buy 60 machines, the newspaper reported, citing government circles. The estimated costs are around five billion euros, which should be financed from the 100 billion package for the Bundeswehr. This means that the Sikorsky model CH-53K is left behind.

The new helicopters could be delivered in 2025/2026 at the earliest. Airbus should take over the maintenance, the report said. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense told Reuters when asked that no decision had been made. So far, the Bundeswehr has been flying an older version of the CH-53, which is to be retired by 2030 at the latest. Originally, the Bundeswehr wanted to replace the machines that were used in Afghanistan, among other places, with a new development. However, these plans were abandoned due to high costs.

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