Germany's former defense minister, Volker Rühe, criticized the current state of Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, calling it "weaker than ever before." Rühe called for a massive increase of troops and armament, saying that other nations should rely on Germany, according to a report by Junge Freiheit.
While the UK and France spend an estimated one third of their defense budget on the nuclear sector, Germany must "put the strongest conventional forces for the European defense — but we do not do that," Rühe told Deutschlandfunk radio.
Currently the nation has some 170,000 active-duty troops, according to reports.
"The European contribution [to defense] must rise," he said.
It is important that other European countries be able to rely on Germany, Rühe added.
"One must explain to Germans how important it is to have common security policy, with an appropriate German contribution," the former Minister said, cited by Deutschlandfunk.
"We have a very different historical situation than back in the 80s, which must never come back," Rühe said.
The former defense minister's remarks come shortly after the EU rolled out its first joint military-industrial cooperation program.
In late 2018, French and German leaders presented views on the future of the EU, with a focus on greater independence, as a response to US President Donald Trump's repeatedly-stated reluctance to pay the lion's share of NATO military contribution.