Germany’s military has too little of everything and its barracks are “pitiful” with some lacking WiFi and working toilets, despite a planned overhaul following the Ukraine war, a senior MP said Tuesday.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted Berlin to drop its traditionally pacifist stance and announce massive new investments to boost its chronically underfunded, creaking armed forces.
But Eva Hoegl, a German parliamentary commissioner tasked with scrutinizing the military, painted a bleak picture and urged the government to speed up modernization efforts.
“The Bundeswehr has too little of everything, and it has had even less since February 24, 2022,” said the lawmaker from the ruling Social Democrats, referring to the date Moscow sent its forces into Ukraine.
“This applies to training, this applies to exercises and this also applies to equipment in the field,” added Hoegl as she presented her annual report on the military.
Berlin has contributed large amounts of armaments to Ukraine, ranging from air defense systems to missiles, but some fear this could leave Germany’s own military short of supplies.
Hoegl said that German soldiers were supportive of efforts to support Kyiv but stressed weaponry needed to be replaced quickly.
The centerpiece of the German government’s efforts to bulk up its military is a 100-billion-euro ($107 billion) fund unveiled last year by Chancellor Olaf Scholz — but Hoegl said none of it had been spent as yet.
“Unfortunately I have to note that in 2022, not a single euro or cent of this special fund has been spent,” she said, calling for the money to start reaching troops soon.
She also urged improvements in troops’ living quarters, saying that “our barracks up and down the country are in a pitiful condition.”
The lawmaker said there was a lack of “functioning toilets, clean showers… indoor sports facilities, troop kitchens, care facilities, ammunition depots and armouries. And last but not least, WLAN (wireless internet).”
“The situation demands that we cannot continue as we did before February 24, 2022,” she said, adding that efforts to overhaul the military “must now be accelerated.”
Germany’s new defense minister Boris Pistorius is reportedly demanding an extra 10 billion euros, arguing that without the funds it will be impossible to modernize the armed forces.