The Minister of Defense is again under criticism. However, after turbulent days, her company rejects reports of a crisis in the procurement of stealth aircraft. The plans for the F-35 are “everything green”.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has confirmed the federal government’s decision to buy new stealth jets in the USA, which will cost billions. “Germany is sticking to its commitment within the framework of the NATO agreements on nuclear sharing, including through the purchase of F-35 fighter jets with dual deployment capabilities,” writes the SPD politician in an article for the US medium “Foreign Affairs”. .

The aircraft are intended to replace the outdated fleet of Tornado fighter jets with which the Air Force has so far contributed to nuclear deterrence. After reports of new risks in the project, the householders of the traffic light coalition also discussed the project on Monday. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD), who has been increasingly criticized in recent days, also took part in the meeting.

“We made it clear once again today that the F-35 is a top priority project and requires the Minister’s full attention. The F-35 is intended to ensure Germany’s nuclear participation. This shows that the aftermath of the tornado is a central defense policy project,” said FDP budget politician Karsten Klein (FDP) of the German Press Agency after the meeting. It is about significant investments of over 10 billion euros. “If the timeline is broken, there are significant follow-up costs for the further use of the tornado. This must be prevented,” said Klein. The Ministry of Defense must create all the prerequisites. This applies to the approval as well as to the structural facilities for operating the new machines.

The Department of Defense has contradicted reports of significant new risks. A spokesman in Berlin said the Budget Committee of the Bundestag was informed in a 25 million euro bill which aspects of the project were still unclear and how the consequences and the likelihood of problems should be mitigated. “There is no crisis. There is currently no problem in the planning, not even in the infrastructure,” said the spokesman. According to the submission to the committee, the project is “clearly on the right track” and “everything is green”.

Dissatisfaction with possible risks had been voiced among members of the budget committee. The “Bild am Sonntag” reported at the weekend about a secret submission in which the Ministry of Defense warned of significant risks in the business, which could also affect the conversion of the airfield in Büchel (Rhineland-Palatinate) and the granting of national certification for the aircraft.

Germany has been involved in NATO’s nuclear deterrent for decades with its own fighter jets. They are stationed at the Büchel Air Base in the Rhineland-Palatinate Eifel region in order to deploy US nuclear bombs stored there in an emergency. This is called nuclear sharing. The Tornados currently planned for this are now to be replaced by the more modern F-35 stealth jets, one of the Bundeswehr’s largest armament projects.

Most recently, there had been increased resentment about the slow start to the procurement of equipment and weapons, which nine months after the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine had not gotten off to a good enough start. Lambrecht is criticized for this. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said on Monday when asked how satisfied the federal government was with the minister’s work: “The Federal Chancellor is satisfied with the work of all the ministers in this cabinet.”

So far, Scholz himself has not publicly indicated any dissatisfaction with Lambrecht. Last week he defended her after the difficulties in procuring ammunition for the Bundeswehr became known. “The defense minister is now very committed to eliminating these abuses of the past decades,” he said after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Demands for his resignation – even if they are already coming from his own coalition – are more likely to have the effect on Scholz that he will initially stick to his minister. He is reluctant to be driven by public or published opinion. Simply firing a cabinet member under pressure would not suit him.

Instead, the chancellor is trying to compensate for deficits in the defense ministry by getting himself and his government headquarters more involved in defense policy – for example on the ammunition problem, about which there was a meeting between officials in the chancellery and the defense industry last week. Things could look different if Interior Minister Nancy Faeser opted for a top SPD candidate in Hesse, giving up her ministerial post and a cabinet reshuffle would be necessary anyway. That would be the chance to clear other construction sites at the same time.

The Ministry of Economics is planning relief for tenants, companies and numerous other institutions in the billions due to the increased energy prices.

The Leverkusen police were in a state of alarm after the death of a leading member of the Goman clan. However, the feared rush of visitors at the funeral on Friday did not materialize. Dramatic scenes nevertheless played out: some relatives sent threats to the doctor who had treated the deceased.

In German children’s hospitals, real dramas are apparently taking place these days, as reported by FOCUS online readers. Nurse Ricardo Lange is appalled and says: “It can’t go on like this”.

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