The special fund was set up last year after the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. It is intended to enable the German army to be better equipped. There were no outflows from the special fund last year; only contracts with armaments companies with a volume of a good ten billion were concluded. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, Eva Högl (SPD), recently discussed increasing the special fund to 300 billion euros.

The regular defense budget is also too small for Pistorius at currently around 50 billion euros a year. “I don’t think that will be enough,” he said.

The Bundeswehr also urgently needs supplies because of the delivery of military equipment to Ukraine. “Tanks are not somewhere on the shelf to take away,” Pistorius pointed out. “They have a delivery time, and that’s not three weeks. And ammunition doesn’t grow on trees and just wants to be picked.” Germany will not be able to meet the demand in the short term.

“In the medium and long term, we have to build up an armaments industry in Europe that can do this,” Pistorius demanded. “Not everyone has to develop every weapon system. And we should come to standardized weapon systems in Europe.” The minister announced close collusion with industry to expand production capacity and speed up deliveries. For the coming week he plans corresponding talks.

In the newspaper interview, Pistorius also commented on the suspension of conscription since 2011. “If you ask me as a civilian, as a citizen, as a politician, I would say it was a mistake to suspend conscription.”

Among other things, conscription was important in order to have a stronger connection to the Bundeswehr in society. “There used to be conscripts at every second kitchen table,” said Pistorius. “That’s also why there was always a connection to civil society.” It is now a matter of making the Bundeswehr “so attractive that good young people are interested in it and apply,” said the defense minister.