Germany unveil Plans to Recruit Foreigners into Military Force
The disclosure of this proposal came from German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who emphasized the critical need to recruit an additional 20,000 troops in response to the perceived threats from Russia.
In accordance with German law, military service in the Bundeswehr is generally reserved for citizens, although exceptions can be made for foreigners in specific cases.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Bundeswehr has intensified its recruitment efforts to meet the newly established target of adding 20,000 additional troops.
Addressing the potential implementation of the proposal, Pistorius stated, as reported by The Telegraph, "We would not be the first armed forces in Europe to do that."
If Germany successfully implements this initiative, it will align with other European nations such as Denmark, Spain, and Slovakia, which also permit foreigners to join their military forces under certain conditions.
It's worth noting that the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth citizens are the only ones eligible to serve in the British Armed Forces.
Pistorius has previously cautioned that Russian President Vladimir Putin might opt to attack a NATO country within the next five to eight years, prompting the need for preparedness against such a possibility.
“We have to take into account that Vladimir Putin will one day even attack a Nato country,” he said. “Our experts expect a period of five to eight years in which this could be possible … at the moment I don’t think a Russian attack is likely.”
Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, announced a “Zeitenwende”, or turning point, in German defence policy shortly after Putin invaded Ukraine. This included pledges to wean the country off cheap Russian gas, spend some €27 billion on support for Ukraine, and to increase the fighting prowess of the Germany army
Free Democratic Party (FDP) member Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, who chairs the German parliament’s defense committee, told DW that she could envision opening the German army to candidates from across the continent.
She said candidates could initially come from the EU as well as countries like the United Kingdom, a former EU member, as well as neutral Switzerland. But there is also scope beyond these countries.
“I think that Europe also needs to be considered further, namely those who may live in European states but which do not yet belong to the European Union, but which may well be in accession negotiations,” Strack-Zimmermann said.