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Guttenberg blasted by predecessor Jung

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Guttenberg blasted by predecessor Jung
Photo: DPA
08:33 CEST+02:00
Former Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung has reportedly blasted his successor‘s possible plan to cut the military budget by ending Germany's conscription programme.

Jung told the Monday edition of daily Frankfurter Rundschau that “there is disorientation” in the deliberations over cutting the program, which would save an estimated €400 million a year.

Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, eager to make his contribution to the massive budget cuts the government needs to make in order to rescue the nation's overstretched finances, is said to be considering ending the program.

But Jung told the paper that compulsory military service was a fundamental principle of the conservative parties – to which both men belong – because it ensured a connection between the military and broader society.

“I have always come out clearly and unequivocally for national service, and that still applies,” Jung said.

Jung was defence minister from 2005 until 2009, before being shifted to the labour and social affairs portfolio. He resigned from that job after just one month following allegations he had misled the nation over the possibility of civilian casualties in the Kunduz airstrike in Afghanistan.

Jung, who remains a member of the Bundestag, said he saw “a bit of discouragement in the party.”

“The buzz, the engagement for the CDU has in part been lost. That's up to the government as a whole,” he said, adding that the government's future fortunes depended on “how the savings program discussions are led.”

The issue of national service reform, he said, was an example of how political principles could not be forsaken in the discussion of cutbacks.

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