After weeks of wrangling, the coalition and the Union clear up their differences over fresh billions for the Bundeswehr. Before the summer break, the procurement of weapons should be accelerated.

The governing parties and the Union have agreed on the 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr. The talks about the desired amendment to the Basic Law had “successfully ended”, both sides said in a statement distributed by the Federal Ministry of Finance on Sunday evening. This clears the way for the acquisition of modern armaments such as fighter jets or helicopters. “Together we will ensure that the Bundeswehr will be strengthened with additional investments of 100 billion euros in the coming years,” the statement said. The NATO goal of spending two percent of economic output on defense per year is “achieved on average over several years”.

Special assets need a two-thirds majority in Parliament

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced the special fund at the end of February shortly after the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. It is intended to eliminate equipment shortages in the Bundeswehr that have existed for years and to help Germany achieve NATO’s two percent target. A two-thirds majority in parliament is required for the planned anchoring of the special fund in the Basic Law. The SPD, FDP and Greens are therefore also dependent on votes from the CDU/CSU.

“Done,” wrote Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) after the agreement on Twitter. “Together we will ensure that the Bundeswehr will be strengthened with additional investments of 100 billion euros in the coming years. At the same time, the debt brake will remain in place for all other projects.”

Traffic light and Union negotiators had been negotiating the modalities for weeks. The CDU/CSU had previously insisted that the two percent be achieved permanently. “After the special fund has been used, the necessary funds to achieve the then valid NATO capability goals will continue to be made available,” is the compromise in the joint statement.

SPD leader Saskia Esken told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung” at the weekend that she did not expect the two percent to be reached “equally every year”. She cited the long lead times for armaments projects and irregular costs in procurement as the reason.

The CDU and CSU also demanded that the 100 billion euros only benefit the better equipment of the Bundeswehr and not be used for other areas such as cyber defense and civil protection. These are now not to be financed from the special fund. “The federal government will also present a strategy to strengthen security in the cyber and information space,” the statement said. “Necessary measures for cyber security, civil protection and the upgrading and stabilization of partners are financed from the federal budget.”

Bundeswehr to get 35 US stealth jets

Union representatives were satisfied: “We made good progress today for the Bundeswehr, the security of our country and our alliances,” wrote CSU MP Florian Hahn on Twitter after the agreement.

“An initiative to accelerate procurement will now be launched immediately and before the parliamentary summer break,” said the traffic light parties and the Union. “The business plan with the concrete procurement projects for the special fund will be decided with the establishment law.”

It is already clear that the 100 billion fund will be used to finance the successor to the Bundeswehr’s aging Tornado jets. To this end, the Ministry of Defense has already announced the procurement of 35 state-of-the-art US F-35 stealth jets. In addition, the personal equipment of the servicewomen and men is to be improved. The Bundeswehr also urgently needs transport helicopters.