BERLIN, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Germany will sharply hike its spending on defense to more than 2% of its economic output in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told an extraordinary session of the Bundestag lower house of parliament on Sunday.
“We will have to invest more in the security of our country to protect out freedom and democracy,” he said, adding the government had decided to supply 100 billion euros for military investments from its 2022 budget.
Germany has long resisted pressure from the United States and others to raise its defense spending to 2% of economic output in the light of its bloody 20th century history and resulting strong pacifism among its population.
But it has made a turnabout on various longstanding policies in recent days, including its refusal to deliver weapons to conflict zones, agreeing to send Ukraine defensive anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles and ammunition.
“There could be no other answer to Putin’s aggression,” Scholz told lawmakers.
(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Maria Sheahan;Writing by Sarah Marsh)
Photo German Chancellor Olaf Scholz receives standing ovation during a government declaration at the German parliament ‘Bundestag’ in Berlin, Germany, 27 February 2022. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to explain himself after a change of course in the Ukraine conflict. The German government on 26 February 2022 decided to deliver anti-tank weapons and howitzers. EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN