Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced higher investments in the Bundeswehr during an extraordinary session of the Bundestag: “We need to invest much more in the security of our country in order to protect our freedom and our democracy.”
Putin had intentions beyond the invasion of Ukraine, Scholz said. “Putin wants to build a Russian empire”, he warned. “We must therefore ask ourselves: What capabilities does Putin’s Russia possess? And what capabilities do we need to counter this threat – today and in the future?”
He announced that the 2022 national budget would therefore provide a one-off sum of EUR 100 billion for the fund. The money would be used for necessary investments and armament projects of the Bundeswehr: better equipment, modern technology, and more personnel.
In addition, Germany would from now on invest more than two percent of its gross domestic product in defence. As Scholz explained, “we will stand unconditionally by our collective defence obligation within NATO.”
Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht emphasised: “We need a well-equipped and strong Bundeswehr – this is becoming dramatically clear now as a result of Putin’s horrendous attack on Ukraine.” She added that this watershed in history would be met with an unprecedented national undertaking to strengthen the Bundeswehr. “The special fund of EUR 100 billion will allow us to strengthen the Bundeswehr and to take on our due role in NATO as a reliable and powerful Ally. I am devoting all of my energy to this task.”
Chancellor Scholz further said that one of the most important projects for modern armed forces was the construction of the next generation of combat aircraft and tanks together with European partners, particularly France. This week had also seen the signing of the Eurodrone contracts, he said. He added that the purchase of the armed Heron drone from Israel was making progress and that there were plans to equip the Eurofighter with electronic warfare capabilities. With regard to nuclear sharing, a modern replacement for the outdated Tornado jets would be procured. The F-35 fighter jet had the potential to be used as a carrier aircraft, Scholz said.
Besides these far-reaching plans, the Federal Government yesterday decided to supply Ukraine with weapons for the country’s defence. It is planned to provide 1,000 hand-held antitank weapons (Panzerfaust 3) and 500 Stinger ground-to-air missiles from Bundeswehr stocks. In addition, the Bundeswehr has in recent weeks bolstered its support for eastern Allies. Germany is a major troop contributor to the NATO Response Force (NRFNATO Response Force), currently providing 13,700 servicemen and women. In Lithuania, the Bundeswehr has increased its contribution to approx. 900 troops for the German-led enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup at NATO’s eastern flank.
Enhanced Air Policing South is a NATO mission that helps to secure the Romanian airspace with Allied air forces. Six Bundeswehr Eurofighters are currently deployed to the mission. The German Navy is helping to secure the North Sea, Baltic and the Mediterranean with additional vessels provided to NATO’s maritime task forces.
The Bundeswehr plans to support NATO Ally Slovakia with company-size infantry forces and with the Patriot air defence missile system.