Germany’s opposition joins criticism of European defence project

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European defence project
MMP on Sherpa Scout Image source: suasnews.com

Politicians further criticized the German government’s handling of the development of a European air combat system with France and Spain on Sunday, following a report by state auditors.

The Next Generation Weapon System in a Future Combat Air System (NGWS/FCAS) project involves cooperation between Germany, France and Spain, and would cost Germany alone about 4.5 billion euros (5.3 billion dollars).

The air combat system is to be operational from 2040 and replace the Eurofighter.

However, state auditors warned of numerous problems in a classified letter to German politicians seen by dpa. They recognized the political importance of the project, but criticized the fact that “no final negotiated contract can yet be presented to parliament.”

Next week, the budget and defence committees are expected to approve the next phase of the project.

On Sunday, politicians echoed these criticisms but reiterated the importance of cooperation in Europe.

“FCAS is one of the most important European weapons projects in the 21st century – it may even become an arms policy unification project in Europe. So it is of great importance to us,” lawmaker Marcus Faber told dpa. He said however that rushing the project would not do it justice and could create serious risks.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Tobias Lindner warned against repeating past mistakes. He said it was “extremely disconcerting” that the budget committee was to release funds without no final negotiated contracts in place, and said the government was deferring responsibility to the Bundestag.

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