Thanks to a stronger political focus on the tasks and interests of the Bundeswehr, its financial resources have improved in recent years. In order to set up armed forces with adequate personnel and material resources, further efforts will be required in the future.
Defense budget expenditures have increased significantly over the past few years, in line with the federal budget. While the target for the defense budget in 2014 was still around 32.4 billion euros, it rose to around 37.0 billion euros in 2017, around 43.2 billion euros in 2019 and around 45.6 billion euros in 2020 to 46.9 billion euros in 2021. That is an increase of around ten billion euros within four years, or 45 percent since 2014. The medium-term financial plan up to 2024, which was approved by the Federal Cabinet in September 2020 does not continue these increases. The defense budget will fall from around 46.8 billion euros in 2022 to around 46.1 billion euros in 2023 and 2024.
The approaches for the years 2021 to 2024 include extensive participation of the defense budget in the federal government's economic stimulus plan from 2020.
The funds flow in particular into digitization, property management and the material equipment of the Bundeswehr. With regard to the financial plan years, it should be noted that the actual budget estimates are regularly well above the original financial plan estimates. This should be illustrated using the example of the 2021 budget: With the government draft for the 2018 budget and the federal financial plan for 2017 to 2021, a financial plan approach (expenditure) for the year 2021 was defined for the first time. At that time, in June 2017, it was around 42.4 billion euros. The 2021 budget, which came into force a few weeks ago, provides for expenditure of 46.9 billion euros. That is an increase of 4.5 billion euros or 10.6 percent.
Increases in spending are not only seen on the debit side. The spending authorizations of the defense budget have been used in full or almost in full for years: since 2014, with two exceptions (2017: 99.8 percent, 2019: 98.6 percent), more than 100 percent of the target rates have been “paid for” to be brought. This shows that the appraisal system and the controlling interventions in the context of budget implementation are perfectly intertwined. In 2020, more than 46 billion euros, namely around 46.1 billion euros, were spent for the first time. Particularly noteworthy is the full expenditure in the area of armaments-related expenditure in the amount of around 9.5 billion euros. This also enabled important armaments projects such as the marine helicopter and the fourth installment of the Eurofighter to begin.
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