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Greens moot scaling down German military

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Greens moot scaling down German military
Photo: DPA
09:02 CEST+02:00
Germany needed to consider reducing the size of its armed forces, the opposition Greens said on Thursday.

Omid Nouripour, defence spokesman for the Green party, blasted a recent speech by Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg about the future of the armed forces and said that downsizing the forces should not be an off-limits topic.

“Why doesn't he talk about the size of the Bundeswehr? It's the central issue that needs work,” he told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

Nouripour called on Guttenberg to signal that reducing the size of the Bundeswehr was at least an option.

“There must not be a taboo on this point,” he said.

He also attacked Guttenberg over the lack of recommendations for fixing the hitches in delivering military hardware. The “Tiger” helicopter, for instance, had been long planned but was still not ready.

The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) defence expert, Hans-Peter Bartels, told the paper that although the current size of the Bundeswehr was appropriate, Guttenberg was “kidding himself” if he thought he could avoid the issue of how far the forces were stretched.

“The topic is looming with a vengeance,” he said.

He demanded the minister start fighting for a better share of the federal budget. During the Cold War, about 20 percent of the federal budget was spent on the military, compared with less than 10 percent today, he said.

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