Tag Archives: Jens Stoltenberg

Germany reports a record € 53 billion in NATO defense spending | News | DW | Instant News


Germany reports a record high NATO defense spending in 2021, proposing a budget of € 53 billion ($ 63.8 billion) for the current year.

That figure marks an increase of 3.2% compared to the previous year. In 2020, spending is capped at around € 51.4 billion.

Countries including Germany hope that the increase in NATO spending will subside the transatlantic dispute about burden-sharing among members.

Former US President Donald Trump accuses Germany of not contributing enough to NATO, and subsequently withdrawing thousands of US troops stationed in the country.

However, earlier this month, US President Joe Biden announced that there would be a freeze on the deployment of US troops from Germany.

Stoltenberg expected pressure from Biden

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said time and time again that he expects to take pressure on the issue from US President Joe Biden, who has promised to improve relations with NATO, unlike his predecessors.

“All US presidents over the past decade have advocated more defense spending by European NATO partners,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with the German news agency dpa last year.

Biden, he said, had asked European allies to invest more before his election.

In 2018, Trump offered the possibility of the US withdrawing from the alliance if partners soon met their goal of spending 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense.

Germany’s defense spending in 2020 is in line with NATO calculations, i.e. German spending should be equivalent to 1.57% of GDP – up from 1.36% a year earlier.

Expenditures remain the same despite the pandemic

Based on Glass magazine, internal analysis for 2022 also points to a severely underfunded armed forces and argues that NATO’s planning goal of having Germany and other countries contribute 2% of GDP in the next few years, “cannot be initiated or realized in time,” under current budget.

Given the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, however, Stoltenberg said defense financing must remain the same, if not increased.

“All of this has created a new security environment where continued investment in our security is necessary,” he said.

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The NATO chief wanders Germany’s heated debate over armed drones | Instant News


COLOGNE, Germany – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he supports the use of armed drones to protect soldiers’ lives, wading through a heated debate in Germany about purchasing such technology for future operations.

Stoltenberg told the German press office of the DPA that the alliance would use unmanned aircraft armed in accordance with international law and to support deployed forces. “These drones can support troops on the ground and reduce the number of pilots we send in a dangerous way,” he was quoted as saying.

His comments came because the question of arming drones had caused a huge commotion between the CDU and SPD parties, which form Germany’s coalition government. In particular, the disagreement is over whether the Bundeswehr should be allowed to lease Israeli-made Heron TP drones armed with missiles. More broadly, however, the debate is about different visions of Germany as a participant in Western military structures.

Earlier this month, the SPD leadership decided to reject the acquisition of armed drones in principle, arguing that the broad debate here about the ethical aspects of their use had not yet occurred, as stipulated in the government coalition agreement.

The party’s surprise move comes after defense department officials formally studied the matter for much of the year as part of a public campaign, holding hearings with experts from a variety of backgrounds and sending final reports to lawmakers.

The SPD parliamentary spokesman for defense issues, Fritz Felgentreu, who supports the use of armed drones in limited conditions, resigned from his job in protest, arguing the party leadership’s claims about a lackluster drone debate were dishonest.

Following Stoltenberg’s statement to the DPA on Wednesday, Felgentreu joked on Twitter that the secretary general would make a “smart Social Democrat”, a reference to his own party.

Stoltenberg’s stance is unlikely to sway any opinion here, as those who reject armed drones for the Bundeswehr are unlikely to support NATO supporters from starting.

It remains to be seen how the seven-year German drone debate further develops before it reaches the relevant decision-making stage for Franco-German. Eurodrone. One of the roles of the drone apart from spying and surveillance is firing weapons in combat under certain conditions. Likewise with Future Combat Air Systems, a Franco-German-Spanish project, is slated to include a series of so-called “long-distance operators”, some of which will have a kinetic effect.

The US administration’s counterterrorism drone wars since the Bush administration, often fought somewhere in the gray zone between military and paramilitary operations, still overshadow the collective conscience of Germany’s anti-war left.

Supporters of drones for the Bundeswehr accuse SPD skeptics of distrusting the government, and their own parliament, in using those weapons more responsibly.

Airbus Defense and Space CEO Dirk Hoke, whose company manages the Heron TP lease and co-leads the Eurodrone and FCAS programs, told reporters earlier this month that he is relying on a “shift” in German public opinion to support the idea of ​​an armed drone in the end. “Our population realizes that we are seeing higher volatility, more crises, and that Europe’s largest economy cannot escape the accountability and responsibility that comes with that role,” he said.

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