Analysis: German Defense budget 2020 on the rise
On Friday, Nov.29, the German parliament (Bundestag) passed its budget for 2020. At the heart of the budget presented by finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) is a massive increase in military spending, Johannes Stern reports on wsws.org. Five years ago, at the Munich Security Conference in 2014, the grand coalition announced Germany’s return to an aggressive foreign and great power policy. The far-reaching consequences of such a policy are increasingly reflected in the current budget.
German Leopard 2A6 (Picture source: Army Recognition)
The German military budget alone will total 45.05 billion euros next year—an increase of more than 12 billion euros since 2014 (32.4 billion). In reality, the increase is even higher. According to a report by the German Press Agency, the German government has notified NATO of its intention to spend 50.25 billion euros in 2020. “We are complying with our international obligations. The NATO defense ratio is 1.42%,” Scholz stressed in his speech in the Bundestag.
Further massive increases are planned over the coming years. In her speech summing up the work of the government, chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) announced: “We will continue this step by step: 1.5 percent by 2024. The Defense Minister has drawn up a plan enabling us to improve our capability in the alliance by increasing our capacities to reach 2 percent (of GDP) by the early 2030s. You can count on that, ladies and gentlemen.” In absolute terms, the target of 2% of GDP, agreed by the grand coalition at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales, would mean increasing the military budget to more than 90 billion euros per annum.
Kramp-Karrenbauer had already announced last Monday at a German army base in Saarland that the government was preparing new military missions. “We would be able to undertake additional missions today,” with increased funding, she explained. On Friday, she introduced a proposal for compulsory service for all school leavers. What she is proposing, in fact, is the reintroduction of military service, which was suspended in 2011, thereby obtaining new recruits for the Bundeswehr and advancing the government’s plans to wage new wars.
It is primarily the SPD in the grand coalition which is pushing ahead with plans for Germany to play the role of military superpower. In his own speech on Friday, foreign minister Heiko Maas (SPD) bragged about Germany’s engagements in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Yemen and other countries. He explained: “Anyone seeing this and who refers to Germany’s responsibility in the world must take note that in all of the crises we are currently dealing with, it is Germany which has now assumed the leading role in conflict resolution. I think that’s a good way to take responsibility in the world.”
“We definitely do not want to be or become a mere plaything between the major powers Russia, China and the US,” declared Left Party foreign policy spokesman Stefan Liebich. Due to the “current state of NATO…we should seriously debate here what it means for Europe and what it means for the European budget if we take this challenge seriously.” The government’s budget is “not enough if we really want to shape European sovereignty within the framework of NATO, as we have done so far.”