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POLITICS

Germany considers using armed combat drones

The German defence ministry is considering whether it “could or should” deploy armed unmanned drones in Afghanistan.

Germany considers using armed combat drones
Photo: DPA

The ministry is “still at the beginning of considerations” about whether to arm the unmanned drones, as has long been called for by the Luftwaffe, a ministry spokesman said.

Armed combat drones are frequently used by US forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to hit terrorist suspect targets in houses or moving cars.

However, their use often leads to civilian casualties and is highly controversial as a result, wrote Der Spiegel magazine on Friday.

But whilst the Bundeswehr sees drones as the weapon of the future, the final decision must rest on the results of a wide public discussion over whether armed drones are necessary for German forces.

The ministry spokesman denied earlier media reports that the drones would be supplied by Israel, saying that the “Heron TP is not up for discussion.”

The Bundeswehr currently uses the unarmed version of the Heron drones and the leasing contract has just been extended until October 2014.

Current discussions, which will see a decision in autumn this year, are focusing the possibility of buying the US drone Predator B.

<DAPD/The Local/jlb

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POLITICS

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

Germany will reinstate its so-called debt brake in 2023 after suspending it for three years to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, sources in the finance ministry said Wednesday.

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The government will borrow 17.2 billion euros ($18.1 million) next year, adhering to the rule enshrined in the constitution that normally limits

Germany’s public deficit to 0.35 percent of overall annual economic output, despite new spending as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the sources said.

The new borrowing set out in a draft budget to be presented to the cabinet on Friday is almost 10 billion euros higher than a previous figure for 2023 announced in April.

However, “despite a considerable increase in costs, the debt brake will be respected,” one of the sources said.

Although Germany is traditionally a frugal nation, the government broke its own debt rules at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and unleashed vast financial aid to steer the economy through the crisis.

READ ALSO: Debt-averse Germany to take on new borrowings to soften pandemic blow

The government has this year unveiled a multi-billion-euro support package to help companies in Europe’s biggest economy weather the fallout from the Ukraine war and sanctions against Russia.

Berlin has also spent billions to diversify its energy supply to reduce its dependence on Russia, as well as investing heavily in plans to tackle climate change and push digital technology.

But despite the additional spending, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has maintained the aim to reinstate the debt brake in 2023.

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