Report: Germany Weighs Acceptance of Foreign Citizens into Army

An honour guard marches out at the end of a swearing-in ceremony of German Bundeswehr sold

A proposal to let foreign citizens serve in the German army is under consideration by Berlin. If approved, it will allow the Bundeswehr to build strength on the back of a recent announcement that conscription could return as the prospect of a grand “European army” looms on the horizon.

Deutsche Welle (DW) reports German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius initially proposed the idea of welcoming non-Germans to enlist in order to ease a drastic shortage of personnel.

In addition to Pistorius from the Social Democrats, the report details the idea has also received support from lawmakers belonging to one of its two coalition partners, the FDP, plus the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Free Democratic Party (FDP) member Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, who chairs the German parliament’s defense committee, revealed in an interview with DW’s Nina Haase she can envision opening up the German army to candidates from across the continent and beyond, a reflection of the changes currently being experienced in the country’s ethnic make-up.

She said candidates could initially come from the E.U. as well as countries like the United Kingdom as well as neutral Switzerland. But there is also scope beyond these countries.

Strack-Zimmermann called on lawmakers to “think a little bolder and bigger and more European.”

“We are already working towards the goal of having a European army in the long term,” she said.

The lawmaker pointed to Germany’s army cooperating closely with its counterparts in France and the Netherlands.

“And that’s why in the long term, if you think in a European way, it can no longer matter what nationality a soldier has within this European framework,” Strack-Zimmermann told DW.

A new recruit stands to attention during a swearing-in ceremony of German Bundeswehr soldiers at the German Defence Ministry in Berlin, on July 20, 2019. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty)

The German government has set a goal for the Bundeswehr to be war-ready in eight years and recently declared it is considering reintroducing conscription to help achieve that goal, as Breitbart News reported.

Germany scrapped compulsory military service back in 2011 although a growing call for rearmament right across Europe is now forcing it to think again.

Shortly before Christmas, Pistorius suggested German conscription could be based on the “Swedish model.”

Germany is in the process of purchasing new fighter jets, air defence systems, armoured vehicles, rocket launchers, and anti-aircraft missiles, on top of 100,000 hand grenades, 22 million rounds of ammunition, and 28,000 combat helmets, as it looks to build strength in depth.

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