German government mulls key military build-up target
The German Defence Ministry is mulling a revision of current military staffing targets set by the previous government as it believes it may not reach them despite the current three-way government’s pledge to ramp up investment.
Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said that the German Defence Ministry is considering revising its plan to add 20,000 new soldiers to its army by 2031.
“I don’t dare to make a prediction if we can reach our target,” said Pistorius as he visited the army’s staff management office Thursday. “We do everything we can, but potentially we’ll have to review the numbers, upwards or downwards,” he added.
But doubts about the targets have been raised before.
Christine Lambrecht, Pistorius’ predecessor in the same government, called the plan “ambitious”, while the parliamentary ombudsman for the armed forces, Eva Högl, called it “unattainable” in April.
Still, the army has struggled to recruit new staff, particularly since the pandemic, said Pistorius, pointing to the slow application process.
Recruitment issues are particularly embarrassing for the government in the context of the comprehensive military build-up known as “Zeitenwende”, which Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
But critics have repeatedly bemoaned that little has changed since.
“The Bundeswehr is facing incredible deficits, and the Zeitenwende has not even started here yet,” Roderich Kiesewetter, the speaker on defence matters for the conservative party CDU, now in opposition, told Augsburger Allgemeine at the one-year anniversary of Scholz’s announcement.
“The troops have lost a year and are in a worse state than at the beginning of 2022,” he said.
Pistorius also hinted that the current staff target that predates the war in Ukraine could be insufficient but noted that attaining the initial target was still more important.
(Nick Alipour | EURACTIV.de)