22:42 GMT +319 July 2018
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    German Bundeswehr armed forces soldiers of the 371st armoured infantry battalion march during a media day of the NATO drill 'NOBLE JUMP 2015' at the barracks in Marienberg April 10, 2015

    Berlin Should Stop Using Defense Funds as 'Piggy Bank' for Other Needs – AfD

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The German government should stop using the defense budget funds as a "piggy bank" for other purposes to avoid any further deterioration of the military, Gerold Otten, a member of the Bundestag's defense committee from the Alternative for Germany party (AfD), told Sputnik.

    "The main reason for this fatal development is the constant and continuous side-channeling of funds, initially allocated to the defense budget, in order to serve other purposes and to combat ad-hoc problems. To put it more bluntly: for the last decades the defense budget served as a financial stone quarry, which was exploited to serve all sorts of needs other than defense. The government has to put an immediate end to viewing the defense budget as a piggy bank, which can be robbed at all times," Otten said.

    The lawmaker agreed with Gerhartz's assessment of the state of the German Air Force.

    READ MORE: Not Just About 'Cash:' Germany Fires Back After Trump Slams NATO 'Underspending'

    "Lt. Gen. Gerhartz is correct by saying that our air force is at an all-time low point. Only 26 out of a total of 93 Tornados are combat-ready, which equals a percentage of 28 percent. As far as the Eurofighter is concerned, the figures are equally worrisome: out of 128 units only 39 are combat-ready, i.e. 30 percent," Otten said.

    The AfD member stressed that Germany would become unable to defend itself if the situation was not remedied.

    At the same time, Dr. Alexander Neu, the Left Party (Die Linke) spokesperson in the Bundestag Defense Committee, told Sputnik last week that the complaints of the dire situation in the Air Force could be part of the communications strategy to justify higher spending. Neu argued that Germany should shift its focus away from the defense industry.

    Last week, Chief of Staff of the German Air Force Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz told a group of influential businesspeople, officers and lawmakers that Germany’s Air Force was in a difficult situation, and increased funding was urgently needed to upgrade aircraft and other equipment.

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    defense budget, Alternative for Germany (AfD), Germany
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