Merkel’s Successor AKK Becomes Germany’s New Defense Minister, Wants More Military Spending
Kramp-Karrenbauer’s appointment has been somewhat surprising but is in line with the possibility that she might succeed Merkel as Germany’s Chancellor.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who has succeeded German Chancellor Angela Merkel as head off the ruling center-right CDU party, was sworn in on Wednesday as Germany’s new Defense Minister.
AKK, as she is also known, has replaced former German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen who was elected President of the new European Commission by the European Parliament on July 16, 2019, for a five-year term starting on November 1, 2019.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is a proponent of closer EU integration, including on defense matters such as the building of an EU aircraft carrier, called for a boost of Germany’s military spending in her first speech as Minister of Defense.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was sworn in at a special session of the lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, in a provisional plenary hall, as the main chamber is being renovated, and after German lawmakers were called in from their summer holidays, DW reported.
In her speech, Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized the special bond between the Bundestag and the German military,
As the German military requires parliamentary approval before any foreign mission, AKK stressed the special relationship between the Bundestag and the Bundeswehr.
Germany’s new Defense Minister also vowed to boost EU defense cooperation, while insisting on further increases in the German defense budget, a policy that is not supported by many in the leftist Social Democratic Party, the junior partner in Merkel’s ruling coalition.
“I am committed to the government’s target of 2%, a target that all allies have repeatedly agreed to,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said in her speech, referring to the NATO target of member states’ defense spending amounting to at least 2% of their GDP.
Current budget plan Germany provide only for an increase to 1.5% of GDP by 2024.
“For a long time, perhaps too long, we believed that the world around us would become more and more peaceful, and the order more stable,” the new minister said.
“Developments in the last few years have shown that was deceptive. That’s why we have now flipped the switch,” she added, while promising adequate equipment and sufficient training hours for Bundeswehr soldiers.
AKK has been a surprise choice to succeed Ursula von der Leyen as Germany’s Defense Minister. However, as she might also succeed Angela Merkel as the next German Chancellor, serving as Defense Minister would add a key Cabinet position to her resume, governance experience that she had been lacking.
(Banner image: AKK on Twitter)