Germany rules out intervention force
11 March 2004
BERLIN – Germany stands ready to join NATO operations against global threats but has no plans to set up a national intervention army, Defence Minister Peter Struck said Thursday.
Struck told parliament Germany’s most likely future military operations would be conflict prevention, crisis reaction and strikes against international terrorism.
“This is not about building up an army of intervention…It’s about taking action for our joint security together with allies and partners,” said Struck.
About 10,000 German troops are currently serving abroad, mainly in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Berlin opposed the Iraq war and has refused to send troops to Baghdad.
The Bundeswehr, Germany’s combined armed forces, is being downsized to 250,000 troops from the current strength of 280,000.
Struck insisted that, despite this reduction, Germany would continue military conscription – in contrast to allies like France which recently scrapped it.
But in a new development, he indicated conscripts would serve at home rather than abroad.
The Bundeswehr is undergoing major restructuring under reforms approved by Struck last year.
Germany’s chronically underfunded Bundeswehr will only see its budget raised in 2007 by EUR one billion to EUR 25.2 billion, Struck admitted.
Opposition leaders criticized the government for underfunding.
Berlin spends a far lower percent of its GDP on defence than all other major NATO nations.
Subject: German news