German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht has asked Chancellor Olaf Scholz for her dismissal, she said in a statement on Monday, the culmination of growing scepticism about her ability to bring the German army into shape against the backdrop of the Ukraine war
“Today I asked the chancellor to dismiss me from the office of federal minister of defence,” Lambrecht, a member of Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), said in the statement.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Lambrecht’s approach has come under criticism, particularly for not implementing an increase in military spending pledged by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and despite the creation of a EUR 100 bn investment fund for the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces.
Germany had stated that they would “from now on, year after year” direct at least 2 percent of its economic output in defence. That was put on hold, leaving the country lagging behind in the NATO military alliance.
Germany’s defence capabilities have been called into question after several Puma infantry fighting vehicles were put out of service during a recent military drill.
According to Bild and other German media there are two possible candidates as Lambrecht’s replacement: Eva Högl, the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, and Siemtje Möller, the junior defence minister. Like Lambrecht, both are Social Democrats (SPD).
After Olaf Scholz was elected chancellor in 2021, the SPD became the leading party of the federal government, forming a coalition with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party.