DThe Union has expressed skepticism about a proposal from Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) for future Bundeswehr financing. The defense policy spokesman for the Union faction, Florian Hahn (CSU), said that the proposal could hardly be taken seriously and that Lindner was “the architect of the underfunding of the Bundeswehr”. The CDU budget politician Ingo Gädechens spoke of “accounting tricks” and told the FAZ that instead of actually solving the existing problems, the traffic light coalition would rather conduct “phantom debates”. The opposition has been complaining for some time that the turnaround in the armed forces is not sustainably financed.

Lindner had suggested to the German Press Agency that the repayment for the high Corona loans should be extended and the remaining money, around nine billion euros per year, could be used for the Bundeswehr. According to Lindner, this would be possible because the upper limit for national debt could be adhered to despite lower repayments.

For the first time, Linder made a suggestion as to how the gap between political announcements and the financial basis could be reduced if the 100 billion euros from the special fund for the Bundeswehr are used up in the foreseeable future. In order to maintain the two percent target compared to NATO after this period, the defense budget would have to increase from the current 50 billion euros to at least 75 billion euros.

Hahn: Nine billion euros is not enough

CSU politician Hahn said that neither the financial requirements nor the two percent target could be achieved after the special fund expires through a “marginal increase of nine billion euros”. Lindner should “not now deal with bogus solutions” but rather work out reliable ways to increase the defense capability and adequate funding of the Bundeswehr together with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD). “The financing of the Bundeswehr must be reflected in the regular budget.” CDU politician Gädechens said: “The traffic light is still not prepared to implement the budget policy consequences resulting from the Ukraine war – and that would also be a necessary financial strengthening of the Bundeswehr at the expense of other areas of spending.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) appeared open to another special fund. “We have already set up a special fund, that would be a possibility,” she said on Wednesday.

Lindner's proposal was approved by the SPD. The SPD parliamentary group's budget spokesman, Dennis Rohde, told ARD that if the German debt ratio was below 60 percent in 2028, the repayment of pandemic debt could begin later – and the funds released could be invested in security and defense. “The modernization of our Bundeswehr must continue to be maintained at a record pace and the NATO goals must be rigorously pursued in the federal budget.” SPD defense politician Andreas Schwarz, on the other hand, told the Bavaria media group that Lindner’s proposal was “not even remotely” enough. Defense financing should not be dependent on Corona repayments. Otherwise you would send “the wrong signal to Putin and our allies.”

The Green Party's budget politician, Sven-Christian Kindler, said his party had previously made a similar proposal and suggested extending the repayment of emergency loans in 2021. He advocated negotiating a relaxation of the debt brake, which Lindner rejected.

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