Germany: coalition government adopts war and austerity budget

The 2023 budget passed by the German parliament on Friday is a declaration of war on workers, with massive increases in military spending and drastic cuts to health, education and social benefits.

In June, the Bundestag (German parliament) voted to fund the Bundeswehr’s Special Fund at the request of the “tricolor” coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Liberals (FDP) and the Greens. [forces armées]”, costing more than 100 billion euros, thus launching the largest arms offensive since the end of World War II. The far-reaching consequences of the resurgence of German militarism—started with the 2013/2014 foreign policy shift, in which key state officials announced Germany’s return to an aggressive, great-power foreign policy— now reflected in the budget.

The only spending that will be massively increased is military spending. A total of 58.6 billion euros is planned for 2023, which means an increase of 8.2 billion euros compared to last year; €8.5 billion will come from the Special Fund, which is not officially part of the Defense budget. The government will use the extra money to buy F35 fighter jets, among other things; CH-47 heavy lift helicopters; Puma infantry fighting vehicles; four F126 frigates; and personal protective equipment for soldiers.

The defense budget is expected to increase further in the coming years. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) told the Bundestag that she was “very grateful” to hear “the various parties here today say that this budget needs to be increased in the future”. He added wryly that the current increases were enough to “make ends meet”.

Karsten Klein, who sits on the “Bundeswehr Special Fund” commission for the FDP, announced the sums involved: “300 billion euros are allocated by the German Bundestag, taxpayers, the German government Ministry of Defense for armaments and armaments. Military equipment of our Bundeswehr, for soldiers – 300 billion euros in this legislative period”!

In terms of annual budgets, this means that in 2024, 2025 and 2026, the military will be paid an average of 80.5 billion euros each year. And this is just the beginning. The ruling class aims to once again make Germany the “leading military power” (Lambrecht) and the Bundeswehr “the best-equipped armed forces in Europe” (Chancellor Olaf Scholz).

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) during a debate in the Bundestag on November 23, 2022 [AP Photo/Markus Schreiber]. [AP Photo/Markus Schreiber]

In his speech during the November 23 debate, Scholz gave an overview of these abnormal armament plans. According to him, financing from the “Special Fund” will allow Germany to “organize an organized and reasonable course change. We will and want to dedicate 2 percent of economic indicators to the Bundeswehr.

The ruling class is trying to arm the economy to implement its decided course of war – which is currently directed primarily against Russia. Scholz said that care must be taken “to ensure that factories and machines are bought for newly created things.” The goal was to “equip the Bundeswehr in a way that it could work for decades. This is the purpose of the Special Fund: a long-term plan.

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