Germany to amend constitution — Analysis
The ruling coalition and a major opposition party have agreed to change Germany’s constitution to beef up its defense budget
Germany’s constitution will be changed to accommodate a new special €100 billion ($107.35 billion) credit-based defense fund, the country’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner has confirmed.
The ruling coalition, which included the Social Democratic Party and Greens, had to hold talks on Sunday with CDU/CSU to reach a 2/3 majority needed in Parliament to allow the defense fund to be exempt from the constitutional debt brake. German media reported that the consensus reached by all parties took over three hours.
Taking to Twitter in the early hours of Monday, Lindner wrote: “Accomplished. Accomplished. In the next few years, the Bundeswehr will receive 100 billion euro in extra investments. The same goes for the debt-relief mechanism that is in place for all other programs.”
The minister went on to stress that with the help of this special fund, Germany would reach the “NATO’s so-called 2-percent target on multi-year average” – an apparent reference to the military alliance’s requirement, according to which member states should spend at least two percent of their respective GDPs on defense.
The new fund, which will require Berlin to take out massive loans, exceeding the regular debt ceiling applied in the country, will now be enshrined in the German constitution (locally known as ‘Basic Law’) to highlight its “Extraordinary character” as Finance Minister Lindner put it.
The money will go toward beefing up Germany’s regular defense budget of about 50 billion Euros for several years.
A number of German media outlets reported that the main bone of contention between the ruling coalition and the opposition was the question of whether the said fund can only be used to strengthen the Bundeswehr’s capabilities or for other related purposes as well. The Greens wanted a portion of the money for cybersecurity support and allies. The Christian Democrats from the CDU/CSU, in turn, insisted that the fund should be used exclusively to beef up the country’s military. According to the media, the Greens eventually acquiesced to the conservatives’ demands.
After the Russian attack on Ukraine in February, Olaf Scholz suggested that the funds be established. Addressing the German parliament at the time, Scholz said that Berlin would “We must invest in security to ensure our democracy and freedom.”
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