Salem Radio Network News Friday, February 23, 2024

World

Germany’s Scholz talks up NATO spending pledge, FCAS fighter deal

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday said his government would adapt its defence budget to ensure the country achieves the NATO spending target of 2% of GDP even after a special 100 billion euro ($106 billion) defence fund has been exhausted.

Scholz was speaking a day after his government pledged to make the German military the “backbone” of European defence as part of a major policy shift to ramp up spending and modernise its forces following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

“We will definitely solve it in such a way that the Bundeswehr (army) gets the resources it needs – even after the special fund expires,” Scholz said in a speech about meeting the NATO target.

Scholz also highlighted the project known as FCAS to develop a combat jet with France and Spain as an example of closer European cooperation on defence.

“In this sense, we have advanced the FCAS fighter aircraft project with France and Spain and will now also quickly advance the MGCS main battle tank project under German leadership with France,” he said.

His mention of FCAS appeared to underscore Berlin’s commitment to the project after a recent report in Britain’s The Times newspaper suggested that Germany was thinking of walking away from the deal due to disputes over design and financing.

($1 = 0.9369 euros)

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Writing by Miranda Murray and Matthias Williams; Editing by Linda Pasquini)

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