© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellor’s Office in Berlin, Germany March 22, 2023. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s military cannot fully fill its existing shortfalls by 2030, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was quoted as saying, as Berlin seeks to rebuild its armed forces following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after decades of neglect.
“We all know that the existing gaps cannot be fully closed by 2030… It will take years. Everyone is aware of that,” Pistorius said in an interview with the Welt am Sonntag newspaper published on Saturday.
Already exhausted by decades of underinvestment since the end of the Cold War, the Bundeswehr is in even worse shape than it was a year ago, with weapons and ammunition donated to Ukraine still largely unreplaced, experts say.
Pistorius refused further deliveries of weapons to Ukraine from the Bundeswehr stockpile beyond the announced commitments.
“To be frank, like other nations, we have a limited inventory. As federal defense minister, I cannot give everything,” he said.
The minister, who was appointed earlier this year, said that increasing the defense budget to reach NATO’s spending target of 2% of national output, from the current 1.5%, is his top priority.
“If it is then initiated at the end of the (legislative) period, then I would be satisfied,” he added.
Germany is also planning a naval mission in the Indo-Pacific region next year and is intensifying its partnership with key countries in the region, such as Japan, Australia, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Singapore, he said, saying that European freedom of movement in the seas was “too much challenging”.