Germany plans to take on a bigger military role in ensuring global security, shedding decades of reticence after World War II, according to a draft government position paper seen Friday.
The government white paper on security policy states that Europe’s biggest economy “has a responsibility to actively help shape the global order”.
It said Berlin was increasingly being seen as a “key player” in Europe and thus expected to do more to help address global threats including international terrorism, cybercrime and a more aggressive Russia.
However, the document adds that there are clear limits to a bigger German footprint on the world stage.
“Our larger role in international security policy will not lead to automatic reactions or to pressure for action that conflicts with our values and interests or that overstretches our capabilities.”
The policy paper, agreed on by the foreign and defence ministries and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, is the first of its kind since 2006 and is intended to provide guidelines for the future operations of the German armed forces.
It is to be debated in cabinet before the summer recess begins in July.
The report comes two weeks after Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced that Germany would raise the number of its troops for the first time since 1990, ending a quarter of a century of successive cuts in the army since the end of the Cold War.
The Bundeswehr is expected to increase in the next seven years by 14,300 soldiers, while 4,400 civilian officers will also be added to the service.
The announcement appeared to be an answer to a repeated call by the United States for NATO members to stump up more in defence spending, and marks a shift after Germany’s post-war era of military restraint.