German defense minister is not capable of leadership: Opposition lawmaker

Gerold Otten criticizes German government for serious mistakes in defense policy, failing to address shortcomings of military.

German defense minister is not capable of leadership: Opposition lawmaker

Germany’s defense minister is not capable of leadership and her “wrong approach” is creating further problems for the military, opposition lawmaker Gerold Otten said on Friday.

“The German defense minister is bluntly continuing what her conservative predecessors have already done. They have just ruined the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr,” Alternative for Germany (AfD) lawmaker Otten told Anadolu Agency.

The former army pilot, who is now a member of the parliament’s defense committee, criticized the current government and its predecessors for setting wrong priorities, lacking a clear strategy for the Bundeswehr, and neglecting long-needed improvements.

Otten said Christine Lambrecht has been a wrong choice for the office of the defense minister, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government is still supporting her despite various scandals in recent months involving her.

“She does not feel at all connected to the troops, which is very important for a defense minister. She has to approach the armed forces and have an eye for the military. That is totally lacking in this minister,” he argued.

Otten said Lambrecht caused various scandals since she assumed the post in December, most recently by taking her son on a vacation in a military helicopter.

“That’s very problematic, especially at the moment, to have such a weakened minister at the head of the Bundeswehr,” he stressed.

Otten has welcomed the government’s recent decision to boost defense spending, but said this step should have been taken long before in order to address the shortcoming of the Bundeswehr.

He criticized the government’s draft, which envisaged legal and constitutional changes to set up a €100 bilion ($107.3 billion) special fund, which will be entirely financed by new loans.

“We agree that we have to increase defense spending because the Bundeswehr has been broken over the years,” Otten said.

“That has always been our demand, and we are pleased that the other parties are today joining us here.”

Hüseyin Demir