Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has confirmed in a government statement that Germany will permanently achieve NATO's 2 percent target for defense spending. "The promise I gave here on February 27 last year is valid," said Scholz in the Bundestag on Thursday. He spoke of an "overall growth in the defense budget" to achieve this goal. In the traffic light coalition and also within the SPD, it is still being discussed whether, in addition to the 100 billion euro pot for the Bundeswehr - a so-called special fund - the regular defense budget should also be increased by further billions.
Scholz: No peace agreement over the heads of the Ukrainians
Scholz clearly rejected criticism of arms deliveries to ward off the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. There will be no peace agreement over the heads of the Ukrainians, Scholz said on Thursday in a government statement in the Bundestag on a year of change.
"You don't create peace if you shout "Never again war" here in Berlin - and at the same time demand that all arms deliveries to Ukraine be stopped," he said. "Love of peace does not mean submission to a larger neighbor. If Ukraine stopped defending itself, it would not be peace, it would be the end of Ukraine."
On February 27, 2022 - three days after the start of the war - Scholz announced a 100 billion program to upgrade the Bundeswehr in a special session of the Bundestag. The first delivery of arms to Ukraine for the defense against Russia had already been decided the day before - a breach of a taboo.
Scholz on China: "Use your influence in Moscow!"
The Chancellor criticized China in connection with the Russian attack on Ukraine and called on Beijing to lobby Moscow for a troop withdrawal from the neighboring country. "Use your influence in Moscow to urge the withdrawal of Russian troops! And don't deliver weapons to the aggressor Russia!" Scholz said on Thursday in his government statement in the Bundestag, one year after his turning point speech shortly after the beginning of the war.
Scholz praised the fact that China's President Xi Jinping had "unmistakably opposed any threat of nuclear weapons or even their use in Russia's war against Ukraine". That contributed to the de-escalation. It is good that China recently repeated the clear message against the use of nuclear weapons in its 12-point plan. However, he called it "disappointing" that Beijing was no longer prepared at the most recent meeting of G20 finance ministers in India to reaffirm what had been the consensus at the G20 summit in Bali last year: "a clear condemnation of the Russian attack ."