Germany to Boost Military Spending in Latest Historic Shift

MSN:

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced plans for a massive boost in defense spending in the latest historic policy shift in Germany triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Germany will channel 100 billion euros ($113 billion) this year into a fund to modernize the military, Scholz said Sunday in a speech to a special session of the lower house of parliament. By 2024, the government will spend at least 2% of gross domestic product each year on defense, he added, in line with a NATO target that Berlin has consistently failed to meet.

Scholz had been widely criticized by opponents and allies alike in recent weeks for what they perceived as dithering and weakness in the face of Russia’s mounting aggression toward Ukraine. In the past few days he has announced a series of radical changes to long-entrenched German policies following the full-scale attack ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the former Soviet republic.

Even before the invasion, Scholz halted the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline built to bring more of the Russian gas his country heavily relies on. On Saturday, he abandoned Germany’s traditional rejection of supplying weapons to conflict zones and gave way on expelling Russian banks from SWIFT, the system used for trillions of dollars worth of transactions between thousands of banks around the world. The willingness to supply Ukraine with military equipment including surface-to-air missiles and anti-tank weapons is in many ways the most dramatic move.

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