“Europe stands united side by side with the Ukrainian people”
“Safety and security are the most fundamental promise owed by a state to its citizens. And we have renewed this promise,” stressed Federal Chancellor Scholz at the beginning of his government statement to the Bundestag. In it, Scholz outlined the Federal Government’s aims for the upcoming summit meetings: the European Council in Brussels will be followed by the meeting of the heads of state and government of the G7 at Schloss Elmau as well as the NATO Summit in Madrid.
The special funds allocated to the Federal Armed Forces had “laid the foundation for a new security architecture for our country,” stated the Federal Chancellor, adding that
Germany would assume responsibility for itself and its allies. The NATO partners in Eastern Europe could also rely on Germany, Scholz emphasised. He was confident that Sweden and Finland would soon be among the NATO allies. Scholz said that their membership would be a “security gain” for NATO and for the whole of Europe.
NATO: signal of solidarity and determination
Scholz said he strongly believed the NATO Summit would send out a signal of solidarity and determination. The defence alliance would prepare for the challenges of the future with a new strategic concept, he added. Scholz said that partnership with Russia was inconceivable in the foreseeable future. However, he said, the NATO-Russia Founding Act should be adhered to. The Federal Chancellor said that “we should repeatedly remind Putin” of the renunciation of force stipulated therein, as well as the mutually agreed respect for borders and the sovereignty of independent states.
Support for Ukraine
Scholz also referred to his recent visit to Kyiv. Cities like Irpin or Bucha were places of horror, the Federal Chancellor stated. However, Irpin and other liberated places also gave grounds for hope, he said. The aim remained to repel the Russian attackers with united forces.
He had assured President Zelensky: “We will continue to provide massive support for Ukraine – financial, economical, humanitarian and political, and not least by supplying weapons. And we will continue to do so as long as Ukraine needs our support.” Europe stood united at the side of the Ukrainian people, he said.
Ukraine will receive the weapons it particularly needs. “We will supply them – today and in future.” The self-propelled howitzers on which we have intensively trained Ukrainian soldiers in the last few weeks are now on the ground in Ukraine.
“Marshall Plan” for Ukraine
The rebuilding of Ukraine would also be a task that took generations, said Scholz, adding that the EU had mobilised billions of euros to support Ukraine in the last 100 days. Germany had also contributed around a billion in civilian aid since the war started, said the Federal Chancellor. At the same time, it was correct that “many further billions of euros and dollars” would be needed for reconstruction, he noted. This would only succeed with united forces – involving the international organisations and donor countries, he said. The G7 Summit in Elmau would include a discussion with President Zelensky as to what form a “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine might take, said Scholz.
G7 Summit with global topics
The G7 would send out a clear signal for more climate protection, more international cooperation and more global solidarity, the Federal Chancellor announced. Germany had initiated the “Alliance for Global Food Security” with the World Bank, and the G7 would seek to talk about the role of democracies in the defence of open, resilient societies, as well as in terms of enforcing human rights, he said. Scholz also repeated his proposal for an open, cooperative Climate Club. Countries should be rewarded for climate-friendly economic activity and be protected from competitive disadvantages.
“Ukraine belongs in the European family”
At the European Council, he would “argue emphatically for the entire EU to unite in saying ‘yes’ to a candidate status for Ukraine, Scholz declared. This also applied to the Republic of Moldova. To the Federal Chancellor, this decision was “Europe’s strategic answer to the turning point”. He added that the European Commission had made recommendations to this effect. Germany was also seeking to further promote Georgia’s European prospects.
However, the EU would have to prepare for the entry of new members. “This means that we have to reform our internal structures and processes,” said Scholz. Among other things, he promoted the idea of making decisions with a qualified majority in future, for example in foreign policy.
EU entry for Western Balkan states
The Federal Chancellor also emphasised: “We want and we need the Western Balkans in the EU.” He had relayed this message during his visit to the region, he said – and this message also had to be sent out from the EU Western Balkans summit. It was almost 20 years ago that the EU offered these countries the prospect of membership. He had advocated on different levels for giving the green light to entry negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia, he said. He would also do the same now in Brussels, because “Germany stands side by side with the Western Balkans.” And there was a good reason for this, he said: “A stable, prosperous, European Western Balkans is in all our interests.”
The Federal Chancellor finished by stressing that the turning point had “never been simply a description of a state of affairs.” Rather, it involved a call to action: “To our country, to Europe, to the global community,” Scholz said. The Federal Chancellor said that Germany played a central role in this, and also that the expectations of Germany were high – but “we will face up to this responsibility.”