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Schlappe for von der Leyen: Despite NATO commitments, Scholz wants to save on the military budget

Germany Schlappe for von der Leyen

Despite NATO's obligations – Scholz wants to save on the military budget

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Olaf Scholz Olaf Scholz

Olaf Scholz (SPD) is preparing for the consequences of a weak economy

Source: dpa / Kay Nietfeld

Ursula von der Leyen had campaigned quite aggressively for a substantial increase in the defense budget. Now you are threatening a bitter defeat: Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wants to save because of the economic situation.

VDefense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) must adapt to a much lower defense budget increase than required. The Federal Minister of Finance, Olaf Scholz (SPD), is planning next year's spending budget of 44.7 billion euros, as the German news agency confirmed in coalition circles on Wednesday.

2019 covered by the Leyens budget 43.2 billion. But she had demanded 47.2 billion euros in the coming year. First "Spiegel online" reported on this.

But there is still no agreement on the key issues for the 2019 budget, it said in coalition circles. The negotiations are still ongoing and difficult. The ultimate goal is to make a new budget without new debts. The budget for the coming year should also be a problem at the coalition summit on Thursday.

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Conflicts have already arisen in the large coalition, especially with regard to future defense spending. Von der Leyen insists that by 2025 military spending would rise to 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product – that would be around € 50 billion today.

Minister of Defense travels to the Baltic states

Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) with soldiers of the Bundeswehr. She has to make do with considerably less money

Source: pa / dpa / Arne Immanuel Bänsch

Von der Leyen insisted on higher spending in order to be able to meet NATO commitments. For example, it demanded by 2024 to spend about 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product for the Bundeswehr. The US in particular demands this from Germany.

However, due to the economic slowdown, Scholz expects federal tax revenues to be considerably lower from 2020. In a presentation by foreign minister Werner Gatzer to the other ministries at the beginning of February, it was said that 24.7 billion euros was missing in the medium-term financial planning until 2023. The federal government had recently substantially reduced its growth forecast for 2019.


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