Germany is pushing to increase its defense budget by as much as €10 billion ($10.7 billion) next year to help fund additional spending triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is pushing for the extra cash in the 2024 finance plan, which would lift the total above the estimated $62.7 billion committed last year.
The increase would be on top of the debt-financed special defense fund worth €100 billion that Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced shortly after the Russian invasion to finance the rebuilding of Germany’s military in coming years.
Just days after the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24 last year, at a special session of the German Bundestag, Scholz pledged to increase the German defense budget to two percent of GDP on top of the special fund.
Bloomberg reports that Pistorius plans to spend €8.5 billion from the special fund. In addition, the government will use some €2 billion from a separate pot to procure ammunition and other military gear for Ukraine.
“The chancellor is totally convinced that we have to get to the point where the federal budget should attribute at least two percent to defense, but he also knows as a former finance minister that this cannot be easily achieved,” Scholz’s chief spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said on Wednesday.
In November, Russia announced a 2023 defense budget of approximately $84 billion, more than 40% higher than its initial 2023 budget.