German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s governing coalition has agreed in principle to double the country’s military aid for Ukraine next year to €8 billion ($8.5 billion), a political source in Berlin said on Sunday.
If approved by parliament, where Scholz’s parties hold a majority, the boost would lift Germany’s defense spending to 2.1% of its gross domestic product target, beyond the 2% pledged by all North Atlantic Treaty Organization members, the source added.
Lawmakers of Scholz’s Social Democrats, the Free Democrats and the Green party agreed on the increase in negotiations over the proposed 2024 federal budget ahead of a formal meeting of the budget committee of the Bundestag — or Lower House of parliament — on Thursday, the source said.
Bloomberg News first reported on the news on Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.
A spokesperson for Germany’s Ministry of Defense said the Bundestag committee has not finished negotiations and declined to comment further.
Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper also said the committee is due to approve the additional €4 billion.
“Doubling the military spending is both the right thing to do and important,” it quoted member of parliament Andreas Schwarz, who acts as an SPD military budget official, as saying.
“With the move we will underscore our promise to Ukraine with the necessary funds. The fact that we will also be able to fulfill our NATO obligation is a great success of the … coalition,” he was reported as saying.
A European Union plan to spend up to €20 billion ($21.4 billion) on military aid for Ukraine is meeting with resistance from EU countries, diplomats said this week.