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Germany

German Soldiers Under Pressure Says Report

German soldiers are under "uninterrupted pressure to adapt" to reforms and budget cuts in the Bundeswehr, according to the annual report prepared by the designated Bundeswehr commissioner in the German parliament. The number of soldier complaints went down by 5.5 percent to 6,082 last year as opposed to a record of more than 6,400 the previous year. Commissioner Willfried Penner said that most grievances stemmed from the lack of military material, the closing down of army bases, disparities in salaries in the east and west and a continuing string of reforms in the past ten to 15 years. In addition, the report also spoke of a "new quality of risk" after German soldiers stationed in Afghanistan became victims of targeted attacks for the first time last June. The report also noted that the Bundeswehr also saw an increase in right-wing incidents in 2003, a total of 139 as compared to just 111 in 2002. These ranged from insulting fellow soldiers of Turkish origin or other foreigners to listening to right-wing songs.