Coalition agrees on domestic deployment of Bundeswehr

Germany’s government coalition partners the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats (SPD) have agreed on a plan to allow domestic deployment of the German military in an emergency.

Coalition agrees on domestic deployment of Bundeswehr
File photo of Bundeswehr training in Saarland. Photo: DPA

“There will be a change to constitutional law,” CDU Secretary General Volker Kauder said on Sunday.

The head of the SPD’s parliamentary group Peter Struck suggested the law would come in handy for maritime emergencies, where “the marines could help the coast guard.”

The debate on the topic has lasted years, but the coalition committee agreed on the constitutional change during a meeting on Sunday, emphasizing that Bundeswehr action would only be taken domestically in cases where the police were unable to manage alone – such as a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told news magazine Der Spiegel on Monday that he wants to scrap the Afghanistan mandate for German commandos, thus ending Germany’s contribution to the US-led force fighting terrorism in the region.

Steinmeier told the magazine the hundred elite German soldiers stationed in Afghanistan since 2001 have not been deployed “a single time.”

The minister said he was in favour of removing the elite forces when the parliament debates in November whether to extend the mandate of Germany’s participation in “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Instead, Steinmeier said, the “clear focus” for Berlin was to extend the number of German soldiers in Afghanistan under the NATO-led multinational International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF). On Tuesday, the German parliament, in a special session, is to debate raising German troop levels by 1,000 to 4,500 soldiers.