Pistorius: 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr will not be enough
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The new Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius does not consider that the financial needs of the German armed forces will be covered by the special pot of 100 billion euros launched last year. “The 100 billion euros will not be enough,” the SPD politician told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (weekend edition). “With every new system, we also have new maintenance costs. So with every new device, there are new and higher operating costs.” Asked if it would then be possible to stay with the regular budget of around 50 billion euros a year, Pistorius replied, “I don’t assume it will be enough.”
The so-called special fund of 100 billion euros to better equip the Bundeswehr was launched by the German government after the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Pistorius had recently announced talks with the arms industry to close the loopholes in the Bundeswehr caused by arms deliveries to Ukraine as soon as possible. Referring to the recently announced transfer of 14 Leopard 2 tanks, Pistorius told the “SZ” newspaper, “Of course we are proposing to acquire replacements.” The tanks, however, are not sitting somewhere “on the shelf for the taking.”
The Minister described the suspension of compulsory military service by the black-yellow federal government in 2011 as a mistake. “If you ask me as a civilian, as a citizen, as a politician, I would say that it was a mistake to suspend conscription.” He didn’t mean that because of today’s situation. “Our parliamentary army belongs in the middle of society. In the past, the conscripts used to sit on every second kitchen table. Because of that too, there was always a connection with civil society.” But this cannot be brought back alone. Now the Bundeswehr must become so attractive that good young people are interested in it and apply.
Asked if that was enough, Pistorius said, “If you ask me, born in 1960, what I think about doing duty, even for the state, I’ll say yes anytime!” But he said he now has a problem imposing duty on younger generations. “That’s why I’m reluctant. But it should be discussed openly with those it affects, because we only perceive alienation between parts of society and the state,” he added, referring to the attacks against firefighters and officials of -police.
Pistorius took office a little over a week ago after the resignation of his predecessor Christine Lambrecht (also SPD)./sku/DP/ngu