German Army to Get Spending Boost in 2019: Draft Budget
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued July 03, 2018)
The German army is set to benefit from a multibillion-euro spending increase, according to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz's draft defense budget. Germany has been under pressure to contribute more as a NATO partner.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz will present a draft defense budget for 2019 which includes significant spending increases for the armed forces, according to newspaper Handelsblatt.

The armed forces' budget is set to rise to €42.9 billion ($51.2 billion), an increase of €4 billion over the previous year, government sources told dpa press agency on Monday. The revised budget would be around €675 million more than previously planned for 2019.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has pledged to end spending cuts for the armed forces, and had criticized the initial budget proposal as being insufficient.

Germany has come under pressure from NATO allies — particularly the United States — to increase its defense budget.

In a story in the New York Times on Tuesday it was revealed that in June, ahead of the NATO summit meeting next week, US President Donald Trump had sent strongly worded letters to several allies, among them Germany, criticizing them for not spending enough on defense.

Berlin is committed to bringing its spending on defense closer to the target of 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2024. Scholz intends to present his draft budget this week before the summer break.

Ageing tanks, faulty equipment

The German army, or Bundeswehr, has come under criticism in recent years over inadequate and insufficient materials, including ageing tanks and faulty equipment.

According to media reports, the unit assigned to NATO duties for 2019 lacks not only armor, but also bulletproof vests, winter clothing and tents.

Cuts in military expenditure have determined German defense policy for more than a quarter-century.

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