Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 12 October 2023. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER MATTHYS


Germany needs to ‘be ready for war’, defence minister argues


Germany needed “to become ready for war”, defence minister Boris Pistorius said.

The country has to prepare to defend itself, which applies to both the Bundeswehr (German’s army) and society, Pistorius told public broadcaster Berlin Direkt.

Germany needs a “mentality shift”, accepting the greater likelihood of war in Europe.

Meanwhile the Bundeswehr suffers the results of decades of neglect, he said.

“Everything that has been screwed up in 30 years, I’m sorry to say, and run down, cannot be made up for in 19 months,” added Pistorius.

Conflicts in Israel and Ukraine would have consequences for Germany’s security, though Germany should do everything it could to avoid further escalation in the Middle-East, the minister said.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany created a special €100 billion fund to invest in the Bundeswehr.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the move a “Zeitwende” (a turning-point) and said the country would start investing 2 per cent of its GDP in defence.

Critics argue change is still coming too slowly. Reform is proceeding as quickly as possible, but structures need to be changed, said Pistorius.

Germany would be in a radically different position by the end of this decade, he said.

While Pistorius is a member of the Social Democratic Party, his views are shared by his Green coalition partners.

Green economy minister Robert Habeck called for further increases in Bundeswehr funding, which he said must be debated soon, before the special fund runs out.

Two-thirds of the special fund is earmarked, with the amount likely to be used up in four years, said Pistorious.

The Green party has argued for the government to be able to take out further loans for defence spending.

However, the liberal Free Democrats, the third member of the coalition, has opposed taking out further government debt.