Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text
Both the coalition partners and the opposition are delaying, for their own selfish reasons, the implementation of his initiative to create a special fund for the needs of the Bundeswehr, which is in a deplorable state.
The Germans have trouble with the army. Under Angela Merkel (in the last years of her reign) and now the Ministry of Defense is headed by Frau. Since 2013, the German soldiers have been commanded alternately by Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU). And now – since the formation of the new government – 56-year-old Christina Lambrecht (SPD). Prior to that, she was the Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. And she definitely didn't smell gunpowder. As, however, and its predecessors.
Women at the helm of the military department are to blame for this or the short-sighted policy of the authorities, who preferred not to burden the budget too much with military needs, but things are really going schlecht for people in uniform!
The Bild newspaper recently cited staggering statistics: out of 350 Puma infantry fighting vehicles, only 137 are in service, out of 119 Panzerhaubitzen 2000 self-propelled artillery units, only 56 can be deployed, all 6 Class 212A submarines (the price of each is a billion euros) are inoperable.
Only 20 Bundeswehr helicopters (out of 152!) are on alert - 8 Tiger attack vehicles and 12 NH90 transporters. It got ridiculous: the military signed a lease agreement for seven helicopters until 2024 with the General German Automobile Club (ADAC), which will cost 63 million euros. We are talking about rotorcraft model EC135 from Airbus. They weigh about three tons and reach a speed of 220 km / h. ADAC uses them for rescue operations. And the army needs them for pilot training. After all, their own are on the joke.
The Ukrainian crisis had a sobering effect on Berlin, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to personally improve his country's defense capability. After all, he is the supreme commander. However, this title is due to him by the constitution during the war. And yet...
At the end of February, when the Russian special operation began, the head of the Berlin cabinet announced the creation of a special one-time fund for the modernization of the Bundeswehr in the amount of 100 billion euros. According to his idea, financing should be carried out entirely at the expense of loans that are not included in the credit limit of the federal budget, and therefore amendments to the constitution are required due to existing legislative restrictions.
However, this requires that at least two-thirds of the Bundestag deputies vote for the amendment. That is, without the support of representatives of the largest opposition faction of the CDU/CSU, his initiative would have been doomed to failure. However, Scholz expressed confidence that he would be able to negotiate with the conservatives. In fact, he hopes for patriotism and joint work with the Christian Democrats on an issue of concern to most Germans.
Initially, the position of the head of the Berlin cabinet and the SPD was very clear: funds from the special fund should go exclusively to re-equip the Bundeswehr (new tanks, planes, guns) and increase its combat capability. It was reported that the chancellor was going, in particular, to buy 35 American fifth-generation F-35A fighters (the price per piece is about $ 80 million), as well as a batch of transport helicopters and warships. At the same time, he probably suspected that a serious conflict would arise around a one-time, albeit very costly action.
The chairman of the opposition CDU, Friedrich Merz, said that the conservatives will vote for a corresponding change in the constitution before the summer, if the government adheres to the promise to use the special fund only for the German army.
However, the coalition partners, and first of all, the Greens, imposed a discussion on its format and purpose. It has been going on since March, but the leading German parties still cannot come to a compromise. The Greens insist that part of the funds should be directed to improving the system of protection against cyber attacks, as well as improving the tools of "soft power" and timely conflict prevention. But this in Germany should not be dealt with by the Ministry of Defense, but by the Ministry of Internal Affairs...
And the most controversial thing is that in the initial version of the bill, this party intends to introduce wording that allows using funds to help allies. And this means that Germany, having concluded, for example, an interstate agreement with Ukraine for the supply of weapons, can theoretically finance them from a special fund.
The Christian Democrats, in turn, believe that if the cabinet goes along with the "greens", then soon every department will try to plug its financial holes with money for the Bundeswehr. The main opposition force promises to do everything for its votes in support of the Chancellor's initiative not to fall into a trap and not allow the use of part of the funds from the special fund to dilute the purpose of the allocated money. According to Merz, only the re-order of ammunition, some of which are going to be transferred to Ukraine, costs 20 billion euros. What major projects in this scenario can we talk about at all?
In the military department, they see the "cutting" of special funds in their own way. They believe that a significant part – 40 billion euros – should be allocated to the Luftwaffe (air force), 27 billion euros should be spent on the modernization of command and control facilities, including modern radio stations, 10 billion euros should be given to new warships.
In short, there is no agreement in the comrades. Officially, the decision on the special fund has not yet been made. The discussion of amendments in the Bundestag has been postponed to the beginning of June.
In addition, there were problems with the legislative consolidation of Scholz's promise to raise the defense budget to the two percent of GDP required by NATO. Conservatives insist that the increase in military spending should not be a one-time demonstration against the background of the Ukrainian crisis, but should be built on a long-term basis. However, they propose to settle this issue with a separate resolution, but not to introduce this norm into the Basic Law. But the SPD and the Greens are of the opinion that "the two percent goal should not remain mandatory for a long period of time and should not limit the financial freedom of the government (current and future)." That is, they believe that it will be possible to jump off this commitment to NATO in the future.
As the weekly Der Spiegel notes, the SPD and its leader face enormous pressure, caught between a rock and an anvil – between coalition partners and the opposition CDU/CSU bloc. It is rumored that some influential Social Democrats insist on quickly approving the creation of a special fund, even if the final version of the bill will differ from Scholz's original plans. It will be much more painful if the project falls victim to inter-party disagreements.
Passions are heating up, and the chancellor, in his characteristic manner, is silent. Der Spiegel believes that Scholz is unable to clearly explain his position on various issues and never makes clear decisions. At the same time, he often demonstrates self-confidence and arrogance, for which he has to pay.