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Germany may spend up to $9.7B more on defense from 2028: Minister

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner laid out plans for the country to increase defense funding and sees scope for up to 9 billion euros ($9.7 billion) in additional spending from 2028 if the country can reduce its debt levels, he said in comments to the DPA news agency published on Tuesday.

The additional funds could be freed up if Germany gets its debt below an EU-set target of 60% of gross domestic product (GDP), Lindner of the fiscally conservative Free Democrats (FDP) told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA).

“If we fall below this limit, then the repayment of coronavirus debt planned from 2028 could be discussed again,” he said.

The German government took out emergency loans totaling around 300 billion euros in 2020, 2021 and 2022 in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Germany is budgeting for debt repayment of 9 billion euros per year from 2028, Lindner said.

“However, if the burden of the pandemic on the debt level has already been overcome by then, the repayment could be significantly reduced,” the minister said.

“This would make billions available that will help us achieve the leap to the NATO target in the federal budget after the end of the special program for the Bundeswehr,” he said.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Germany set up a 100-billion-euro special fund to purchase modern weapons. It also pledged to reach NATO’s target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense.

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