New Secretary of Defense
Pistorius: “Germany is not a party to the war”
Germany’s new Defense Minister Pistorius has to get off to a flying start. In the morning he receives the certificate of appointment, shortly afterwards a meeting with the most important ally is already scheduled.
The new secretary of defense Boris Pistorius (SPD) wants to quickly make the Bundeswehr strong for the aggravated security situation after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. “It’s about deterrence, effectiveness and operational capability,” he said after being greeted with military honors in the Bendler Block, the headquarters of the Defense Ministry in Berlin. “Germany is not a party to the war. Nevertheless, we are affected by this war.”
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier presented the new minister with the certificate of appointment that morning at Bellevue Palace. Shortly thereafter, Pistorius was sworn in in the Bundestag. Steinmeier wished him “perseverance, good luck and a lucky hand”. He takes over the ministerial office in a threatening and dangerous situation Germany haven’t known for a long time. “Germany is not at war,” stressed the Federal President. For the country, however, an epoch in a headwind is beginning. “We must respond to threats that are also aimed at us.”
It now depends on who armed forces to be deterrable and ready for defence, said Steinmeier. “And that requires more modern and comprehensive equipment, more efficient procurement, more solid staffing levels, and attention and respect for the troops.” There is no time to lose. “As a strong country in the middle of Europe, we have a responsibility not only for ourselves but also for others.” Germany does not stand alone, but in alliance with partners. “And these partners must and will be able to rely on us.”
The Federal President handed the resignation certificate to the resigned Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht. He thanked her for everything she had achieved in 23 years as a member of parliament and for everything she had done as a federal minister in various positions. He praised her willingness “to stand up for our country, for our democracy, to defend it where it is attacked, not only to lament its problems but also to want to solve them”.
Pistorius: The troops need full support
Pistorius criticized in the Bendlerblock that the armed forces had often been neglected in recent decades. The troops now need full support, and he, in turn, needs the support of everyone in the Bundeswehr, the Ministry of Defense and the associated authorities for his work. “I need everyone, I need everyone’s support, and I will ask for it,” said Pistorius, who warned: “Most of the turning point is still ahead of us.”
According to the Defense Ministry, Pistorius called his French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu immediately after being sworn in. “France is our closest ally and oldest friend in the European Union. Paris and Berlin have also been working closely together on security policy for decades,” said Pistorius. That’s why it was particularly important to him to get in touch with Lecornu as quickly as possible.
Pistorius receives US Secretary of Defense Austin
Pistorius received his US colleague Lloyd Austin as the first foreign visitor after taking office. Both said the of Russia attacked Ukraine further support. Pistorius emphasized that the United States was Germany’s most important ally. “Putin’s appalling war of aggression in Ukraine gave NATO the chance to prove what it is, namely a solid, stable alliance that has shown itself, and will continue to show, capable of reacting and taking action.”
He is very grateful for that, said Pistorius. “As so often in history, but especially now in these times, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America stand shoulder to shoulder.” Germany and its partners will continue to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom, territorial independence and sovereignty in the future.
Austin called Germany “one of America’s most important allies”. He thanked the German government for supporting Ukraine and for quickly strengthening NATO’s eastern flank. He looks forward to working with Pistorius in the future.