AIn view of the pressing shortage of ammunition, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has tried to organize additional money from Finance Minister Christian Lindner. However, the minister received a sharp rebuff. Lambrecht also received criticism from the ranks of his own traffic light coalition for the shortcomings in ammunition procurement.
The SPD politician, who had defended her previous budget against criticism in interviews this week, asked in a letter to the FDP politician Lindner on Tuesday to provide budgetary funds “now immediately and to a significant extent” to support the “munitions manufacturing industry”. to promptly request offers. “Let’s set an example together and demonstrate the coalition parties’ ability to act to ensure defense capability, which is urgently needed,” Lambrecht encouraged her coalition partner in a letter dated November 29, which is available to the FAZ.
Lambrecht answers only the Secretary of State
Contrary to what Lambrecht had hoped for, there was a negative answer on Thursday, which was not even written by Lindner himself, but by his State Secretary, Steffen Saebisch. The letter of December 1st, which is also available to the FAZ, says: “I have to state that you did not express the need to procure ammunition mentioned here, either during the negotiation of the special fund and its economic plan, or in the course of the parliamentary procedure .”
The Ministry of Finance also seems to have a different opinion than Lambrecht on the question of what is lacking in the procurement of ammunition. According to Saebisch, who took part in the secret meeting in the Chancellery, the reason for this was not a lack of budgetary funds, but rather “complicated, sometimes non-transparent and inconsistent planning of requirements and bureaucratic ordering processes”.
However, the Ministry of Finance has agreed to support the Ministry of Defense in “improving their planning processes”. This is followed by practical tips from the Secretary of State for Finance for Lambrecht’s closest armaments staff. Among other things, Saebisch recommends talks with the armaments industry and a “sufficiently concrete exchange of information with the providers” as well as “realistic and continuous monitoring” of the funding requirements. The letter ends with a remark to the direct addressee, Secretary of State Benedikt Zimmer. As he knows, “dear colleague”, the Defense Ministry can “always rely on the support of the Federal Minister of Finance”.
The exchange of letters led to astonishment in the parliamentary room. The chairman of the Greens in the budget committee, Sebastian Schäfer, said that the lack of ammunition had been known for years and had become even more urgent due to the Ukraine war. He said it was “completely incomprehensible why it is only now, nine months after the Federal Chancellor proclaimed a turning point, that efforts to remedy the shortage of ammunition should be stepped up”. With the Procurement Acceleration Act and the special fund, the Ministry of Defense had already had all the options for rapid procurement available this year. An increase in funds for the procurement of ammunition had to be “triggered from the parliamentary area” in order to achieve an increase at all.
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