13:19 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Mountain infantry soldiers stand in front of a troops transporter Boxer after an exercise of the mountain infantry brigade 23 of the German Bundeswehr near the Bavarian village Bad Reichenhall, southern Germany, on March 23, 2016

    German Gov't to Add 7,000 Soldiers in First Military Increase in 25 Years

    © AFP 2019 / CHRISTOF STACHE
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    Following a budget increase, the Bundeswehr also intends to expand by at least 7,000 new recruits, German newspaper Focus reported on Tuesday.

    The number of German troops has been falling since the country's reunification, but Defense Minister Ursula Van der Leyen has decided that now is the time to boost their numbers, citing increased security risks.

    On Tuesday the minister announced her department's plans for an increase in troop numbers, in order to cope with "new threats and growing responsibilities," the German newspaper Focus reported.

    Van der Leyen's plans reportedly include the abolition of Germany's 185,000 troop limit, and the initial creation of 7,000 new jobs in the armed forces.

    While the proposal has yet to be approved by the Bundestag, the German government has already approved a significant increase in the military budget over the next three years, which will increase from 34.3 billion euros to 39.2 billion euros by 2020.

    Following the reunification of Germany, the country's armed forces were reduced from a combined 600,000 personnel, when the former East Germany's National People's Army became part of the Bundeswehr in 1990. 

    Germany currently has 177,000 soldiers, and the head of Germany's Soldier's Union, Andre Wustner, told Focus that the development marks a U-turn in Germany's military policy.

    "It's not only a change in trend, in fact it represents a 180-degree turn in personnel policy," he said, adding that his union thinks the increase doesn't go far enough.

    "Since the end of 2014 we have been in the red zone," said Wustner, and recommended that the armed forces increase by 15,000 soldiers and 4,000 civil employees by 2020.

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    soldiers, military, Bundeswehr, Germany
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