With a budget of €90 billion in 2024, the German armies are heading towards a dominant position in Europe

Since German rearmament, authorized by the signing of the London and Paris agreements in May 1955, the Federal Republic of Germany and France have always ensured balanced defense spending, so as to contain the resurgence of distrust between the two countries which led to several conflicts in the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries.

Even after reunification, and the takeoff of the German economy with the arrival of 16 million East Germans, Berlin and Paris continued to respect this tacit rule, especially since the two countries shared the same perception of the benefits of peace.

This balance lasted until 2019. Since then, despite the increase in investments in France, the budget of the German armies has grown twice as quickly as that of the French armies, to the point of reaching, in 2024, a total investments of €90,6 billion, including pensions, compared to only €59,6 billion on the other side of the Rhine.

Will this imbalance be cyclical, linked to the Zeitenwende of Olaf Scholz, or will it take place over time, to become structural, and profoundly reshape the military balances in Europe, in particular to the detriment of the France ?

The budget of the German armies has increased by 55% in two years

If the French armies followed a relatively linear progression from €44,2 billion in 2019 to €59,6 billion in 2024, that followed by the German armies was much more chaotic.

Luftwaffe eurofighter Typhoon
The Luftwaffe will receive 20 Eurofighters Typhoon additional, ordered as part of the Zeitenwende on the 2024 budget, and is preparing the acquisition of around ten more F-35As, in 2025.

Thus, in 2019, Berlin allocated €46,9 billion to funding the Bundeswehr. This amount increased by €5 billion in 2020, then by only €1 billion in 2021, at the height of the consequences of the Covid crisis, before increasing again by €4 billion in 2022.

With the start of the war in Ukraine, and the start of Olaf Scholz's Zeitenwende, the German defense effort experienced meteoric progression, reaching €67,8 billion in 2023 (+€8,7 billion), then €90,6 billion in 2024 (+€22,8 billion), an increase of 55,4%, and €31,5 billion in just two years.

Relative to nominal GDP, German defense spending, including pensions, increased from 1,35% of GDP in 2019 to 2,12% in 2024. Over the same period, the French defense effort increased from 1,81. 2,05% to 0,25%, an increase of +0.77% GDP for France, compared to +XNUMX% GDP for Germany.

A sham progression due to the €100 billion of the Zeitenwende

The gap which has widened between French and German investments in defense concerns all categories of investment, whether in personnel, training or infrastructure. However, it is undoubtedly the gap concerning equipment acquisitions which proves to be the most spectacular.

German armies Bundeswehr
Faced with the need for format expansion, and the crisis of vocations within the armies, the Bundeswehr could turn to selected conscription inspired by the Scandinavian model.

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  1. And why should France make the same effort as Germany? In case Germany becomes a threat again?

    This is to ignore the fundamental difference: France has nuclear weapons.

    Apart from stupid ego issues, I don't see the point.

    Germany is a regional continental power and France is primarily a maritime power present across the entire surface of the Globe.

    France's vital interests are certainly not in the Baltic countries, Poland or Ukraine.

    If Germany needs a powerful land army capable of deploying in the eastern plains, France above all needs a powerful navy capable of safely ensuring the projection and deployment of an expeditionary force if a country came to the idea of ​​attacking Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Reunion, New Caledonia or Polynesia.

  2. Indeed, Germany with NATO allies must control the Baltic, the North Atlantic and the Black Sea in addition to the eastern plains. But France cannot exempt itself from participating in the land defense of the east, even to a lesser degree, up to its budgets.
    It has a second or even third curtain position in relation to Ukraine, but this conflict is ours, without a doubt.
    The light nature of many of our units must be valued and used on the flanks or in distant theaters which will (unfortunately) not fail to appear! We don't have any tanks to equip them anyway..
    We must keep in mind that solidarity has two meanings, which says that one day the problems will not come head on! Only a victorious Europe will be able to deter future competitors.
    It’s the return of History.


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