Germany is set to expand its foreign military presence

On 7 March, the German government agreed on a defence bill that aims to expand Germany’s foreign military missions, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali. This initiative comes after a parliamentary report drew attention to the poor shape and lack of funding of the military, and will ultimately be subjected to Bundestag's approval.

After claiming success for Kurdish peshmerga training mission carried out by German forces in Iraq, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced that a German presence will be maintained in Baghdad and Irbil to help rebuild the country. In Afghanistan, the maximum of 980 German troops will be raised to 1.300, von der Leyen stressing that security has still to be improved to keep on supporting the education, healthcare and women rights efforts. The bill also provides an extra 100 soldiers to the 1.100 already present in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. These goals could reflect Merkel's ambitions to reaffirm Germany's leading role in the EU after five months of internal political uncertainty, adding to this an announcement of €10 billion investment in the military over next four years. Another likely aim of this move is the stabilisation of the aforementioned regions with the goal of reducing migration. 

About author: Martin Macq


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