The 28 EU heads of state this week chose Ursula von der Leyen as the new EU Commission President. She has been Germany’s Minister of Defence since 2013.
The German military (the Bundeswehr) is in a more catastrophic state right now than it has been at any point since its inception. Of the country’s 128 Eurofighters, for example, just 39 remain operational. And of the military’s 72 CH-53 heavy transport helicopters, a mere 16 are ready for action. In fact, only around one third of the Bundeswehr’s new tanks, fighter jets and helicopters are fit for active service. Around the world, eyebrows have frequently been raised as German ministers arrived late for international conferences and meetings because German military aircraft were so unreliable. Just last December, Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at a G20 meeting 12 hours late and missed large parts of the programme.