With an amendment to the Basic Law, the Bundestag has paved the way for billions to be invested in the Bundeswehr. On Friday, MPs voted by a large majority to include a new paragraph 87a in the German constitution. There were 567 yes votes – 491 would have been enough.

The new article regulates that loans of up to 100 billion euros can be taken out for the Bundeswehr without the debt brake. In order for the change to come into force, the Bundesrat must also approve it with a two-thirds majority.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the special fund in his “Zeitenwende” speech on February 27 as a reaction to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “We are facing up to our historical responsibility,” said Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner before the vote for the project.

The money is to be used to purchase better equipment for the armed forces over the next few years. This involves aircraft, tanks and ammunition, but also personal equipment of the soldiers such as night vision devices or radios. The package is a reaction to the European peace order that was shaken by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. The Bundeswehr is to become a fully operational army.

Because the so-called special fund is to be financed by loans and should bypass the debt brake, the Basic Law must be changed. For this, the coalition was dependent on the votes of the opposition. There had therefore been negotiations with the Union, which pushed through a number of conditions. Among other things, a new committee will be created to advise on which purchases are made and when.

Some armaments projects have already been initiated: These include the planned purchase of F-35 stealth aircraft and the decision to purchase 60 heavy CH-47F transport helicopters for the air transport of soldiers and material.

According to figures available to the German Press Agency, the army, as the largest so-called branch of the Bundeswehr, will also account for the largest part of the investments. 32 billion euros are planned directly for the land forces.

However, the share increases to around 40 billion if investments from other dimensions – air and sea – are allocated according to responsibility or use. A reform of the procurement system in Germany had recently been called for several times in order to be able to use the billions quickly and successfully.

After the vote on the amendment to the Basic Law, the Bundestag also wanted to formally decide on the creation of the 100 billion special pot in the late afternoon. After the first vote, however, approval was only a formality. The Bundesrat wants to vote on the amendment to the Basic Law next Friday.

Note: A previous version said 683 MEPs voted in favor of the change. In fact, it was 567 yes votes out of 683 votes cast. We corrected the mistake.