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Germany

German budget cuts could include troop reductions

Reducing Germany's budget deficit is on the agenda of a government meeting on Sunday and Monday. The defense ministry is expected to tighten its belt, which could lead to a reduction of Bundeswehr troops.

A German tank in Afghanistan

Bundeswehr troops are currently engaged in Afghanistan

Cutting troop numbers in the German Bundeswehr is one option under consideration as the German government prepares to meet on Sunday and Monday to come up with ways to plug large gaps in its deficit-laden budget.

German military spending is one area where significant savings could be made and according to media reports, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is considering several money-saving measures.

One consideration would be a reduction in the number of Bundeswehr soldiers by nearly half. According to the Suttgarter Zeitung and the Hamburger Abendblatt newspapers, one possibility would be to cut the number of troops from around 250,000 to 150,000.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

Guttenberg is hoping to slash a billion euros from the defense budget


Another option would be eliminating Germany's mandatory military service. The Hamburger Abendblatt wrote that this could result in savings of around 400 million euros ($489 million). It would represent a large chunk of the 1 billion euros the defense ministry hopes to cut from its 31-billion-euro budget.

A law has already been introduced in the German parliament that would reduce the length of military service from nine to six months.

A spokesperson from the defense ministry was quoted by the Hamburger Abendblatt as saying that "no ideas [for cutting costs] were off limits, but no decisions had yet been made."

mz/dpa/apn
Editor: Kyle James

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