Defense: Chancellor Scholz promotes common European armaments

Chancellor Scholz promotes common European armaments

Chancellor Olaf Scholz during his speech at the Bundeswehr Conference 2022 in Berlin.  Photo: Carsten Koall/dpa

Chancellor Olaf Scholz during his speech at the Bundeswehr Conference 2022 in Berlin. photo

© Carsten Koall/dpa

Should the German arms export guidelines be relaxed for European cooperation? Scholz is open. He also wants to make the Bundeswehr the best-equipped armed force in Europe.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz campaigned for European cooperation on arms exports and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) signaled support for the revision of the strict German guidelines.

The organization for the management of joint armaments projects has what it takes to become "the nucleus of European cooperation," he said SPD-Politician on Friday at a Bundeswehr conference in Berlin. However, the prerequisite is that the member states review their reservations and regulations regarding the use and export of jointly manufactured systems. "Some may be surprised by this - but the federal government is ready for it," emphasized Scholz.

The SPD politician Lambrecht In a keynote speech earlier this week, he spoke out in favor of softening the strict German guidelines for arms exports in order to facilitate cooperation with European allies such as France, Spain and Great Britain. In these countries, arms exports are not made as dependent on the human rights situation in the target countries as they are in Germany. In the case of joint projects, however, the companies in the partner countries must also comply with the German restrictions when exporting.

Scholz: Air defense is particularly important

A common European armor is possible - and often the only way with new, complex systems, said Scholz. Perhaps the most pressing problem in Europe is the completely confusing number of weapon systems and armaments and the competition from different armaments companies. "Only the coordinated growth of European capabilities will lead to a Europe capable of acting," emphasized the Chancellor. Air defense is particularly important to him.

In the coalition agreement, the SPD, the Greens and FDP agreed to place arms export controls on a legal basis. The Greens even want to tighten the rules and further restrict exports to countries outside the European Union and NATO.

Scholz renewed his commitment to invest two percent of German economic output in defense in the future. "My statement that we will increase the defense budget to two percent of gross domestic product is also valid," he emphasized. After the 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr has been exhausted, the financing will not return to the old level.

"Making the Bundeswehr the cornerstone of defense in Europe"

"A well-equipped Bundeswehr that can fulfill its mission to protect our country is a matter of course for me," said Scholz. "That's what I stand for as Federal Chancellor - and you can rely on that." The Bundeswehr should become the cornerstone of conventional defense in Europe, "the best-equipped armed force".

For this, however, tasks would have to be reprioritized, which had been avoided for a long time. Of course, a good army can drill wells, secure humanitarian aid, stem floods and help with vaccinations in times of pandemics. "But that's not your core mission," emphasized Scholz. "The core mission of the Bundeswehr is the defense of freedom in Europe!" All other tasks would have to be subordinate to this.

Scholz did not comment on the new arms deliveries and the Ukrainian demand for battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. Defense Minister Lambrecht announced on Thursday that the federal government would provide the country with two more Mars multiple rocket launchers and 50 armored Dingo vehicles to ward off the Russian attack. In addition, 200 rockets would be delivered. The armed wheeled transporter Dingo is used for patrol and reconnaissance.

Berlin is thus expanding the list of weapons systems supplied, but is leaving Kyiv's demand for battle tanks unfulfilled. Scholz had recently always emphasized that he did not want to go it alone when it came to arms deliveries. So far, no NATO country has delivered Western-style main battle tanks to Ukraine.

The SPD foreign politician Michael Roth brought up a joint delivery of battle tanks from several European countries. 13 European countries had a total of 2,000 Leopard 2 tanks, he told news radio MDR Aktuell. He therefore proposes to jointly deliver a contingent to Ukraine. The coalition partners FDP and Greens have recently been open to further arms deliveries to Kyiv.


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