Special assets for the Bundeswehr: The 100 billion euro debate

As of: 04/27/2022 7:17 p.m

The Bundestag has dealt with the planned special fund to strengthen the Bundeswehr for the first time. It should include 100 billion euros – representatives of the traffic light coalition spoke of a directional decision.

By Evi Seibert, ARD Capital Studio

Almost the entire government team had come to the Bundestag to be part of this debate. This makes it clear what public importance she ascribes to this topic. The chancellor himself was also present right before his departure for Japan, responding to criticism from the run-up that he would be absent from such an important event.

Accordingly, the first speaker, Minister of Finance Christian Lindner, also spoke of a “decision of a historic nature”, a “directional decision”. “You have to be able to fight in order not to have to fight. That’s why the Bundeswehr needs to be upgraded.” This is how he founded the planned 100 billion euro special fund.

The responsible defense minister from the SPD, Christine Lambrecht, provided very practical reasons. Using concrete examples, she listed everything that was missing: 200 of 350 armored personnel carriers were broken, and fewer than ten of more than 50 helicopters could actually take off.

Union demands information on debt repayment

The Union reiterated its demand that the money should only be used for military purposes. Alexander Dobrindt from the CSU warned the finance minister: “You also have to talk to us about how you want to repay these 100 billion, debt repayment is a basic principle.”

AfD and Left are strictly against a special fund for the Bundeswehr. The AfD politician Peter Böhringer called it a tactic to overturn the debt brake. The leader of the Left Party, Mohamed Ali, explained that an arms race has never brought peace and security: “Nor will it lead to more security in our country. The only thing it will bring is that the share prices of the armaments companies will rise. But do this madness we as leftists don’t go along with it,” she said.

Traffic light warns Union against party tactics

In this case, the AfD and the left are not the biggest problem for the traffic light coalition. She needs the votes of the Union to change the constitution for the planned armaments budget, a two-thirds majority. Almost all speakers from the government factions warned the Union against playing tactical party games in this historic decision. CDU faction leader Merz had announced in advance that he did not want to form the reserve bank for missing traffic light votes – and would only allow precisely counted Union votes for the special fund.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reminded the Union that this is about a joint responsibility for Germany – and that the Greens had also behaved responsibly in the euro crisis as the opposition. Each faction has its own bag to carry, but the point here is to learn from past mistakes and now to do better together.

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