Sputnik has discussed this with Jan Nolte, a politician with the party Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Sputnik: In your view, why is the CDU now debating the merits of re-introducing military service for young people? How helpful is this type of national service?
Jan Nolte: It's just a part of their election campaign tactics, I think. In the near future, we will have elections in the German federal states of Hessia and Bavaria and the CDU party is afraid of not appearing conservative enough, especially because of the AfD; but even the minister of defense, Ursula von der Leyen, has already made clear that she does not approve of this idea.
Sputnik: What are the current security challenges facing the country?
Jan Nolte: The Bundeswehr is an army with worldwide deployments, it is affected by terrorism and dynamic conflicts. My objective is to keep the soldiers away from most of those missions. Another issue which is often discussed nowadays is, of course, the aggressive policy of NATO, and I clarify again, that we are standing for a policy of detente, we oppose baseless NATO aggressions carried out with the help of Germany.
Sputnik: Can this move have an impact on Berlin's ties with NATO? How is it going to affect the relationship with NATO?
Jan Nolte: I don't think that this re-introduction will come in the next time, we have no majority for it in the Bundestag; there is a majority in German society, but not in our parliament, so I think this discussion or this debate won't have any effect on our relations with NATO.
Sputnik: Some lawmakers have argued that the proposal could clash with the country's ban on forced labor; how justified are these concerns?
Jan Nolte: Military conscription is not abolished, it is just interrupted, so it's still enshrined in our constitution, so these concerns will have no foundation. But for general obligatory service, we would need to create a legal basis at first, that's right.
Sputnik: Proposals to increase the defense budget were shown to be unpopular in Germany; has this changed? Recent polls have indicated that the public supports this notion. Do you think it is likely to be accepted in the near future?
Jan Nolte: As I said, we would have a majority in the public for this, but the government has another opinion about this and there is no majority in our parliament. So I think there won't be any conscription; it's just because of the election campaign that they are talking about this.
Sputnik: Earlier, the governing party supported the idea of recruiting foreign EU nationals to boost recruitment. How is this idea perceived by the public, are you in favor of this?
Jan Nolte: No, I'm not in favor of it. I think, at least, you need to have German citizenship to defend this country and the population here in Germany thinks the same, mainly. They're not in favor of this and I don't think we will get foreign soldiers in our army in the coming years.
Sputnik: Many reports have indicated that the German army is facing many issues, such as outdated equipment and the lack of supplies., Are these problems really consistent with what's happening within the German army at the moment?
Jan Nolte: Yes it's true; in the past, the CDU and the SDP wanted to save money, so they didn't buy enough systems, weapons and things like that. This is the reason for the problems.
Sputnik: The GDP of Germany is one of the highest ranking in the world and to have a German army where you've got issues with outdated equipment is very much a surprise globally. What more can be done to resolve this situation; is there going to be more funding to resolve this situation?
Jan Nolte: We will raise the money that we spend on our military by up to 32 billion [euros] by 2021, but it takes a lot of time to solve all of these problems. They're working on it, but we won't solve these problems tomorrow or in the next year, it will take time.
The views and opinions expressed by Jan Nolte are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.