Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner is open to a higher defense budget, but sees more difficult budget discussions than they have been for a long time due to a lack of austerity efforts. "Because the situation we are now facing in the budget planning for 2024 cannot be compared with any budget consultation of the past ten years. Over ten years, low interest rates and rising government revenues have helped us," said the FDP chairman in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, which was broadcast in advance on Saturday. "The reality is different now. For the first time in over ten years, we need to consolidate."

Lindner should actually bring the parameters for the 2024 budget and the medium-term financial planning until 2027 to the cabinet next Wednesday. But the ideas within the traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP are still too far apart.

"I would also like to plan a 'billion in education'. But every partisanship for one project is necessarily linked to the question of what to do without," says Lindner. Priorities must be set. The traffic light must discuss this even more fundamentally.

A higher defense budget is also under discussion, for which Lindner has sympathy in principle. "It is necessary for the defence budget to increase in the next few years. Especially if outflows from the special program for the Bundeswehr can no longer contribute to achieving the two-percent target." Lindner did not comment on exact figures. NATO states are to invest two percent of their economic output in defense, which Germany is still a long way from doing.