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Germany Is Stepping up to its Security Duties to Allies, Says Scholz

Germany Is Stepping up to its Security Duties to Allies, Says Scholz

Wednesday, 22 June, 2022 - 17:00
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a statement at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, 22 June 2022. (EPA)

Germany is upgrading its army so it can defend its allies as well as itself, stepping up to the responsibility befitting it as Europe's biggest and most populous economy, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an unusually bellicose speech on Wednesday.

Scholz, who took office in December, has faced accusations of failing to provide sufficient leadership in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and in particular of hesitating for too long on weapons deliveries Kyiv says it urgently needs.

That criticism has waned slightly in recent weeks, however, as his government announced it was significantly boosting Germany's military mission in Lithuania and Ukraine welcomed the arrival of self-propelled German howitzers.

Parliament also passed a bill fulfilling a promise Scholz made in February to create a 100-billion-euro fund to upgrade Germany's military as part of a historic shift towards a more assertive foreign and security policy.

"In Europe's biggest security crisis for decades, Germany - the European Union's biggest economy and most populous country - is taking on a very special responsibility," Scholz said in a speech to parliament. "And not just for its own security but also for the security of its allies."

Scholz said the NATO summit next week in Madrid would send a sign of cohesion and determination. The defense alliance's future relationship with Russia would play a key role in its new strategic concept.

It was imperative for Germany to stay the course on providing military, humanitarian and financial support to Ukraine for as long as it needed until Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized his "colossal mistake," Scholz said.

The German chancellor also acknowledged the economic fallout of the Ukraine war - rising energy prices and worsening food insecurity - saying it was important to show solidarity with the global south that was especially suffering.

"If we are not able to show solidarity towards these countries, then powers like Russia and China profit from that," he said.

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