German ‘yes’ to loans from the European Investment Bank for European defence

In favour of receiving funds from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to strengthen European defence, but first only in technology and research was its Christian Lindner speaking today (06.03. 24) in Handelsblatt. In particular, the German Ministry of Finance said he was “open” to allow the bank to invest more in defence. He pointed out, however, that “it is wise to step forward. The views of the Member States differ. We know that investors in the capital markets are sensitive when it comes to the defence sector and we must ensure the good credit rating of the EIB,” Lindner noted. “We could start by investing more in dual-use technologies and research. If we make progress here, we could consider whether or not the change of mandate is necessary,” the German Ministry of Finance stressed. However, he made it clear that “it is too early to decide, but I would not rule it out at a later stage. We must remove all obstacles to increasing productive capacities in the European defence sector as soon as possible.” With regard to Germany’s refusal to contribute its share of the European Peace Facility (EPF), which funds arms markets for Ukraine, Lindner said that “we need a fair distribution of the burden. We are open to discuss the future role of the European Peace Facility, but it will not happen that some Member States pay twice, first bilateral aid for Ukraine and then through European instruments. That would not be fair.” Regarding whether Germany will create a new fund once the EUR 100 billion from the special fund for strengthening its army is exhausted, Lindner said that “we are not planning a new special fund. By 2028 we must be able to cover 2% of the financial production for defence from the regular budget. This is a challenge, but it is possible under two conditions: Firstly, we need growth and secondly, we need to limit the introduction of new social costs.”