A compromise in this direction was recorded after difficult negotiations which lasted several weeks between the parties of the coalition – social democrats, ecologists and liberals – and the conservative political family of the former chancellor Angela Merkel, indicated to the AFP representatives of these movements.
The agreement will make it possible to fulfill the promise made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the end of February after the outbreak of the Russian offensive on Ukraine: to release a special fund of 100 billion euros to rearm the country over the next few years and modernize the Bundeswehr, whose equipment is outdated.
Berlin will at the same time be able to achieve the objective set by NATO of devoting 2% of the national GDP per year to defence. This objective will be achieved “on average over several years”, according to the text of the agreement obtained by AFP.
The exceptional fund will be financed by additional debt. And for that, it was necessary to circumvent the rules enshrined in the national constitution, called “debt brake”, which strictly limit the possibility of a budget deficit.
This is why the government needed the support of the main opposition force, the conservative CDU/CSU, because it needs a two-thirds majority in Parliament to pass this exception.
The 100 billion will be paid into a “special fund”, outside the national budget.
The negotiations were tough. Not only on the question of the use of the money, but also on that of the policy towards Ukraine, over which the government and the opposition have been clashing for weeks.
The conservatives particularly criticize the Social Democratic Chancellor for the timidity of his support for kyiv in the face of Russia, in terms of arms deliveries.
The release of 100 billion euros for the national army is a major reversal for Germany, which in recent years has been dragging its feet to comply with the commitments of the Atlantic Alliance in this area, regularly attracting the wrath the United States.
Germany, since the end of the Cold War, has significantly reduced the size of its army, from around 500,000 people when the country was reunified in 1990 to just 200,000 today. In addition, military officials regularly complain of breakdowns in their fighter planes, warships or tanks.
But the invasion of Ukraine acted as an electric shock in a country steeped in pacifism since the horrors of the Nazis.