Germany is to increase its army by 5,000 soldiers, the defense ministry said Tuesday, bringing the total to 198,000 in 2024, at a time when U.S. pressure is mounting on European NATO members to raise military spending.

 

Ursula von der Leyen

 

“The German army faces demands like never before,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that the army had to be able to respond in an appropriate way to developments abroad and security concerns.

 

Germany, reluctant for decades after World War II to get involved in military missions abroad, has in the last few years become more active in supporting international deployments such as in Afghanistan, Mali and against ISIS militants.

 

In January, Germany sent a battlegroup of more than 1,000 to Lithuania as part of a NATO mission to protect its eastern border with Russia.

 

A defense ministry spokeswoman said provided the plan goes ahead, the increase would mean additional costs of about 955 million euros ($1.01 billion) per year from 2024. ($1 = 0.9494 euros)

 

 

 

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