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1 Dec, 2022 20:34

German finance ministry rejects 'urgent' defense request – media

The finance ministry said lack of funding was not the cause of the sluggish availability of ammunition
German finance ministry rejects 'urgent' defense request – media

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance has reportedly rejected an urgent call by Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht for more money to deal with a massive ammunition shortfall in the country’s military.

In a letter seen by the German Press Agency (DPA), Finance State Secretary Steffen Saebisch said there appeared to be a “different perception” as to the cause of the ammunition crisis among munitions manufacturers.

The finance ministry’s response comes after the SPD’s Lambrecht had reportedly written to her coalition partner, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner of the FDP, demanding more funds. 

While Lambrecht blamed a lack of funding for the ammunition shortfall and requested more money “immediately in a significant amount,” Saebisch said industry representatives believed the sluggish availability of equipment and ammunition was ‘not due to a lack of budgetary funds’ but to the defense ministry’s “complicated, sometimes non-transparent and inconsistent” ordering processes.

The finance ministry did commit, however, to supporting the defense ministry in “improving their planning processes.” 

For one, Saebisch recommended Lambrecht engage in talks with the arms industry and have a “sufficiently concrete exchange of information” with manufacturers, as well as “realistic and continuous monitoring” of funding requirements.

Last month, the Bundestag’s commissioner for the armed forces, Eva Hoegl, warned that the country’s military was facing severe ammunition shortages and said it would cost €20 billion to replenish stocks.

In October, Business Insider also reported that the German military only had ammunition for one or two days of fighting, citing defense industry and parliamentary sources. While the problem has existed for years, the outlet said it was exacerbated when Germany began providing weapons to Ukraine, the outlet claimed.    

The German coalition’s rift over weapons comes amid reports that arms transfers to Ukraine have left most NATO nations’ stockpiles strained. The New York Times said this week that smaller countries had “exhausted their potential” to supply Kiev with more arms and at least 20 of the block’s 30 members were “pretty tapped out.”