The EU Eyes New Horizons, by Melkulangara Bhadrakumar

Germany is increasing its military spending and capabilities, in part to fulfill its desire to be the dominant nation within the EU. From Melkulangara Bhadrakumar at

Germany’s military build-up is a poignant issue in European politics, and what trajectory it will take once the dust settles, only time can tell.

Three developments in the past week herald a profound shift in European politics. It is tempting, but ultimately futile, to contextually place this shift as a reaction to the Russian decision to launch military operations in Ukraine. The pretext only provides the alibi, while the shift is anchored on power play and has a dynamic of its own.

Without doubt, the three developments — Germany’s decision to step up its militarisation, the European Union’s (EU) decision to finance arms supplies to Ukraine and Germany’s historic decision to reverse its policy not to supply weapons to conflict zones — mark a radical departure in European politics since World War II.

In a speech Sunday during a special session of parliament in Berlin on Germany’s response to the situation around Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a plan to beef up German military, earmarking for the armed forces an additional €100 billion ($112.7 billion) out of the 2022 budget as a one-time allocation and underscoring his promise to reach the 2% of gross domestic product spending on defence. He said the additional spending would include investments and armaments projects for the German military.

As for the rationale behind the decision, Scholz said, “It’s clear we need to invest significantly more in the security of our country in order to protect our freedom and our democracy.” As it is, Germany has a record high defence budget (€53 billion) for the current year, which is an increase of 3.2% over the previous year. The proposed €100 billion additional financial outlay will boost acquisition of drones, new fighter jets, etc. and fund investments in medium and long term defence build-up. Scholz also committed that the hiked up defence spending of 2% of GDP is going to be a permanent norm.

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