The German military lacks funding and may soon be engaged in too many missions abroad, Agence France-Presse reported Tuesday. German forces are assisting in a series of anti-terror missions in Mali, Syria and Iraq, among other locations, and Germany's defense commissioner said the military is reaching its capacity.
"We are short of almost everything," Hans-Peter Bartels told Parliament Tuesday while asking for additional funding, Deutsche Welle reported. "The army is at the turning point. It cannot take more cuts," he said. Bartels asked Parliament to raise the military budget from 1.16 percent of the national GDP to at least 2 percent.
Bartels' comments came little over a month after Parliament approved a United States request to up its participation in fighting the Islamic State group, aka ISIS, in Syria. The European nation has been a longtime ally of the U.S., particularly during missions in the Middle East, and had six Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate and up to 1,200 troops stationed in Syria, according to a December 2015 report in Reuters.
German Military Called 'Overstretched, Underfunded' https://t.co/uGLaInyWWo
— Defense News (@defense_news) January 27, 2016
Germany has also been dealing with a refugee crisis at home that has strained local and federal authorities. Escalating conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa sent over 1 million people seeking asylum in Europe in 2015, with close to 1 million of them looking to settle permanently in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s outspoken welcome of asylum-seekers, coupled with a strong national economy and job market, has made Germany an attractive final destination.
With the surge of people arriving, German military has been deployed at the country’s borders and to help with humanitarian missions. Merkel’s management of the refugee crisis has continued to come under criticism, both abroad and at home, particularly after several dozen women in Cologne and Hamburg were assaulted on New Year’s Eve, allegedly by groups of asylum-seekers.