Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has the SPD politician Boris Pistorius appointed as the new Federal Minister of Defence. The former Minister of the Interior of Lower Saxony received his certificate in Bellevue Palace in Berlin, after which he was sworn in in the Bundestag.
Shortly before his appointment received Pistorius’ predecessor Christina Lambrecht their letter of dismissal from the Federal President. She announced her resignation on Monday after just over a year and a month in office. Steinmeier thanked her for her “willingness to take responsibility in the most difficult of times” and for her many years of political commitment. Lambrecht had been in the Bundestag for the SPD since 1998, until she no longer stood in the 2021 election.
Steinmeier called the Russian invasion of the Ukraine a “break in an epoch” and called for the rearmament of the armed forces, better procurement, more staff, and “attention and respect for the force”. It is now crucial to make the Bundeswehr “deterrable and ready to defend”, said the Federal President. At the same time he said: “Germany is not at war.”
Turning to Pistorius, the Federal President said: “You have to get started right away.” The new minister needs a “cool head, good nerves, strong leadership, clear language and political experience”. He has shown that Pistorius has all of this in other demanding political offices.
Once in his new ministry, Pistorius criticized that the armed forces had often been neglected in recent decades. The troops now need full support and he himself needs the support of everyone in the Bundeswehr, in the ministry and in the associated authorities. “I need everyone, I need everyone’s support, and I will ask for it,” said Pistorius. He warned: “The largest part of the turning point is still ahead of us.”
Lambrecht leaves Pistorius with a whole series of work sites – while Russia is still at war with Ukraine. The modernization of the Bundeswehr, with the help of the 100 billion euro special fund, is still in its infancy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the rearmament after the Russian invasion in February last year.
The most urgent question is how to proceed with arms deliveries to Ukraine. After the decision to supply armored personnel carriers of the type marten it’s about one possible support with leopard-Battle tanks. the federal government is apparently now ready to do so, if the USA also relinquishes battle tanks – of the type abrams.
Pistorius starts his job with a lot of appointments: After the swearing-in, the inspector general of the Bundeswehr, General Eberhard Zorn, received him with military honors in the Bendler block. He also called his French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu and met US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in the morning. On Friday, Ukraine’s western allies are meeting at the US Ramstein Air Force Base in Rhineland-Palatinate to discuss further arms and tank supplies.