German defense companies stand to benefit from a €10 billion (U.S. $11 billion) cash infusion under a massive stimulus package meant to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic.
Leaders of the coalition government last week unveiled the measure, which provides a total of €130 billion, in the hopes of mustering enough economic “oomph” to get through the crisis swiftly, as Finance Minister Olaf Scholz put it.
The fact that a defense earmark is included in the package as an explicit instrument for helping industry sets something of a new tone in a country where defense sector dealings are traditionally treated as a necessary evil in the business of geopolitics.
“Behind every equipment decision there is an industrial-policy calculus, especially nationally, that includes jobs,” Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in an interview broadcast Tuesday as part of the Brussels Forum, an online think tank event. “Now that we want to revive the economy it makes no sense to cut the defense budget as a source of public spending.”