German defense policy set for major changes

Berlin – Not expecting to get as much support in the 21st century as in the 20th century, Germany will have to raise its own  defense expenditure to 2 percent  of its ‘ GDP ‘, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel while indicating major changes in Germany’s defense policy. Soon after Chancellor Merkel spoke,  the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that Germany is prepared  to take up additional  responsibilities  in the defense sector, for which huge amount of funds and other necessary preparations are being initiated.These indications given by Germany may  prove vital for NATO and in preparing an  independent ‘European Army’.

Angela MerkelAt  a conference last week  in Germany’s Paderborn city, Chancellor Merkel talked about changes in the defense sector. She said Germany would receive no help in the the 21st century as was received in the 20th century and will have to raise their defense budget from 1 percent to 2 percent. She stated further, that the ongoing crisis in the world has already  reached the door steps of Europe and that they  are now forced to make provisions to invest heavily on external security. She also owned up that it was President Barack Obama of US who had pressurized Germany to increase its defense budget.

She added that the policy to increase the defense budget to 2 percent  of the country’s ‘GDP ‘ was formulated by NATO a decade ago. However, barring 5 nations, members of  NATO, no other member country increased its defense budget. US, Britain,Poland, Greece and Estonia were the members who spent 2 percent or more on the defense expenditure.In order to raise the defense budget to 2 percent of its ‘GDP’ by 2020, Germany will have to make provisions of 66 billion dollars. The current German Plan to spend 40 billion dollars till 2020, itself requires additional funds upto 25 billion dollars.

At the time when Chancellor Merkel was giving indications of increase in the defense budget, the Defense Minister Leyen too made it clear that Germany’s defense policy will be more comprehensive. She emphasized that change is necessary. By isolating themselves, or by imposing sanctions on themselves they would not be able to solve the problems in the world, or Europe or even Germany. Germany is ready to take on  a bigger role and additional responsibilities in the  defense sector. She added that these are correct measures which would involve both time and money. With these words the Defense Minister Ursula Von Der Leyen indicated the changes have been already initiated.

While justifying the changes in the defense policy of Germany, she made references to Russia’s aggressive military stance, the war in Syria, and the new challenges coming in from Africa.She informed about the sanction  of 10 billion Euro dollars given by the German Finance Ministry to purchase defense equipments and for  the expansion of military troops. She stated vehemently that Germany is not trying to stretch beyond its capabilities but no way will it remain small and underutilized.

Germany had published a White Paper, three months back, which had mentioned the aggressive changes in Germany’s defense policy as indicated by the Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. That the German military henceforth, will remain proactive at international level and emphasis will be given to the expansion and modernization of the military, was mentioned in the Paper. Leyen had also said that both Germany and France together will make extra efforts to strengthen defense cooperation amongst nations who are members of the European Union.

German-Defence-MinisterWith this perspective in mind, important defense related agreements this month,  were signed with France and Britain.

Considering Germany to increase its defense expenditure to 2% of ‘GDP’ by the year 2020, it has to make provision for nearly 66 billion dollars. Currently Germany has planned to spend 40 billion dollars till 2020, which would require raising funds to additional 25 billion dollars.

While Chancellor Merkel has given clear indications of increase in defense expenditure, at the same time German Defense Minister Leyen too has indicated to make Germany’s defense policy more comprehensive. ‘Change is important. Being isolated and by imposing sanctions on ourselves, we cannot solve the problems in the world, Europe or our own country.Germany is ready to take more comprehensive stand and responsibility in the defense sector. This is the right path and it would need huge amount of time and money’, said Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen indicating that the preparations for introducing changes have been initiated.

While supporting Germany’s changes in the defense policy, Leyen also mentioned about Russia’s aggressive military plan, war in Syria and new challenges coming in from Africa. Germany’s Finance Ministry has approved 10 billion Euros for purchasing defense equipment and expansion of military troops, as informed by Leyen. Germany is not trying to be bigger than its capability, however at the same time Germany will not remain smaller than its capability, as aggressively stated by the Defense Minister.

Three months ago, Germany had released a white paper presenting the framework for nation’s military policy. At the same time, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen had indicated of aggressive changes in Germany’s defense policy. Henceforth, German military will be more active at the international level, as mentioned in the white paper and also stated to put more efforts for military expansion and modernization. Leyen had also stated that, Germany and France will try to strengthen defense cooperation between European Union member nations. Considering this, important defense related agreements have been signed with France and Britain in this month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.