27th May 2019

Germany to postpone Airbus decision

Germany might postpone the final decision on buying 73 A400M military transport aircraft until after the September 22 elections. A spokesman for the German defence ministry indicated on Friday, that the budget committee of the German Bundestag, meeting for the last time before the elections on Thursday 12 September, would not be able to reach a conclusion.

The Ministers of defence of eight EU countries signed in December 2001 an agreement to buy in total 196 A400M military transport aircraft, deemed essential for the credibility of the 60,000 strong European rapid reaction forces. However, the 18bn euro contract was dependent on the German Parliament’s promise to buy 73 aircraft for Germany because the minimum orders required by Airbus in order to start production are 180 aircraft.

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The German government pledged to buy the 73 planes in two stages, but was only willing to earmark enough money to buy about 40 planes this year. Germany then came under pressure from its partners in the project to give a binding guarantee for the financing of the rest of the project. After an opposition complaint to the Constitutional Court, the defence minister at the time, Rudolf Scharping, was forced to concede he could only give a political commitment, which would not be binding on the next parliament.

While the Germans are still holding up the Airbus project, France plans a big increase in defence spending over the coming years. A five-year military planning bill to be discussed in the French cabinet on September 11 will see spending gradually increased to 15bn euro in 2008 from 12.5bn euro this year.

Bundestag gives green light to Airbus

With the permission to buy 60 military transport aircraft A400 M, the German parliament has erased the last formal obstacle for the European project.


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