Pistorius wants to quickly close weapons gaps in the Bundeswehr

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BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The German government wants to close the gaps in the Bundeswehr caused by the arms deliveries to Ukraine as soon as possible. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) announced on Wednesday evening that talks will be held with the arms industry, possibly as early as next week. At the same time, the SPD and the CDU/CSU are calling for better coordination of defense production in Europe.

On Wednesday, the German government announced the delivery of Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, and other countries now also want to supply such tanks from German production. Previous German deliveries include the Patriot air defense system, Gepard air defense tanks and the Iris-T air defense system. Pistorius last week announced deliveries of arms and equipment to Ukraine worth one billion euros in the spring. This brings the total amount of German military aid since the start of the war to 3.3 billion euros.

Pistorius said on Wednesday evening on “Tagesthemen” of ARD that the gaps caused by the provision of arms to Ukraine come together with replacement deficits that have been “accumulated well” in recent years. “Now we are doing everything we can to ensure that the supplies are done quickly,” stressed the minister. He said he wants to hold talks with the defense industry about this very soon, probably as early as next week. Pistorius added: “We need more defense industry in Germany, but, I think, also in an agreed way in Europe.”

SPD defense expert Wolfgang Hellmich encouraged Pistorius in his approach. “We have to sit down very quickly with the defense industry to go into production on the replacement of the Leopard tanks,” the defense policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND/Thursday) . “We want to join there through start-up funding and long-term acceptance guarantees, because the security of our country requires it.”

Defense policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Florian Hahn, called it “fundamentally important for Germany’s defense capability to immediately acquire Leopard tanks, ammunition and everything else that the Bundeswehr had she gives up.” Writing in the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper (Thursday), the CSU politician called for a long-term support strategy that manufacturers can also adapt to.

In this context, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz criticized the former defense ministers of the Union for mistakes. “In many cases, the productions have to be reestablished,” said the SPD politician on Wednesday evening in the ZDF program “She was a nun, Herr Scholz.” For example, he said, there are not enough spare parts or ammunition for many weapons. There is no constant production in the interaction with the industry, he said. “Something like this should not happen to us in the future”. Now, he said, the Bundeswehr must be equipped in the next few years to be capable of national defense.

The chairman of the European People’s Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, called for a realignment of European arms production. “European states are currently unable to provide the necessary armaments quickly enough, either for our own defense or for Ukraine,” complained the CSU vice chairman in the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper (Thursday). What is needed, he said, is “a kind of war economy in the EU so that it can guarantee stability and security.” Weber asked the EU Commission to “develop common standards for the production and export of weapons and ammunition.”/shy/DP/zb

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