The governing coalition and the Union have agreed on the details of the planned 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr. Both sides announced this on Sunday evening after more than three hours of negotiations in the Federal Ministry of Finance in Berlin. The talks were “successfully ended tonight”.
The basic law should be changed to create the special fund with the purpose of strengthening the alliance and defense capability and a law for the financing of the Bundeswehr and the establishment of this special fund should be initiated, as can be seen from the written communication from the department of Finance Minister Christian Lindner ( FDP) was disseminated.
“Together we will ensure that the Bundeswehr will be strengthened in the coming years with additional investments of 100 billion euros,” it said. “The so-called two-percent target of NATO will be achieved on average over several years.”
Immediately and before the parliamentary summer break, an initiative to accelerate procurement will be launched. The business plan with the concrete procurement projects will be decided with the agreed law. An advisory body of the budget committee will accompany this.
In addition, the government will present a strategy to strengthen security in the cyber and information space. “Necessary measures for cyber security, civil protection and the upgrading and stabilization of partners are financed from the federal budget.”
After the special fund had been used, the necessary funds to achieve the then valid NATO capability goals would continue to be made available. “After the claim, the repayment also begins within a reasonable period of time.”
The announcement of a massive rearmament by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), which he made in the Bundestag on February 27, is to be implemented. Scholz had said that the federal budget would provide the special fund with a one-time payment of 100 billion euros. From now on, more than two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) would be invested in defense every year. This left room for interpretation as to whether 100 billion plus two percent should apply or whether both should be offset.
The negotiations with the opposition Union were necessary because the special fund is to be anchored in the Basic Law. In this way, it should be possible to take out loans bypassing the debt brake. A two-thirds majority in the Bundestag and Bundesrat is required for the constitutional amendment, which the coalition cannot muster alone.
The exact use of the money turned out to be a key sticking point. The Union wanted to have it made clear that the special fund will only be used for the Bundeswehr. The Greens wanted the 100 billion to also be used to finance cyber defense and support for partner countries.
The government factions had already announced in advance that compliance with the two percent target – unlike the special fund – should probably not be anchored in the Basic Law. The main reason is that the gross domestic product is not yet known when the budget is set and a violation of the Basic Law should be avoided. The Federal Statistical Office reports the result of calculations on GDP around 15 days after the end of a year.
SPD leader Saskia Esken told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper”: “We will not achieve the two percent target equally every year.” If you order large equipment today, you will only get it in three or four years. “The amounts may not be as high in the first two years, and then there comes a year when a lot becomes necessary.”