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Germany

German Defense to Benefit from State Stimulus Package

A large chunk of Germany's second state financial aid package will go toward modernizing the military. The defense minister says the move will create jobs, but some say there are better uses for a stimulus money.

German soldiers with night-vision goggles

Military modernization and economic stimulus -- can Berlin kill two birds with one stone?

Over 500 million euros ($634 million) of the federal 50-billion-euro package have been earmarked for the military, according to the German Ministry of Defense.

More than 250 million euros will go toward renovating existing and constructing new facilities, including barracks and other buildings.

The German military "is an important source of contracts for the German economy, so it only makes sense that it will make the most of the possibilities to continue its support in the context of the economic stimulus package," said German Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung in a statement.

Jung added that the Defense Ministry's plans to spend the funds would not only support small and mid-sized German businesses, but would also help protect the lives of its soldiers.

Modern military gear

An additional 250 million euros are to be invested in high-tech military equipment. According to the Defense Ministry, "Dingo" patrol vehicles would be purchased for use on foreign deployments and new "Seafox" drones would quickly make underwater mine detection without human divers a reality.

According to a report published on Sunday, March 1, by the Financial Times Web site, 1,000 Heckler & Koch sub-machine guns and 10 armored Fenneck reconnaissance vehicles were also on the list. Heckler & Koch is a German company, while Fennecks are made by a German-Dutch conglomerate.

"It is bogus to claim the purchase of tanks and combat drones represents an economic stimulus program," said Left party parliamentarian Inge Hoege, as quoted by the Financial Times.

Berlin's second stimulus package was approved by parliament last month. It follows a 50 billion-euro aid package from November 2008.

Currently, 7,300 German troops are deployed abroad on missions in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Africa, and elsewhere.

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