Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz reported positive results of the closed two-day Cabinet meeting held at Schloss Meseberg, stressing that the conference had been a success. Issues “that are linked to the turning point and that result from Russia’s war against Ukraine” had been at the top of the agenda, the Federal Chancellor said.
At the start of the closed meeting, the ministers discussed the effect of the war in Ukraine on European security policy. Federal Chancellor Scholz welcomed the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and the Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin who joined the event as guests. Scholz pointed out that Germany was following the debates led in Finland and Sweden concerning the possibility of joining NATO, and that they could “expect our support” if they decided to do so. The Federal Chancellor continued to say that the two countries could always rely on Germany, also beyond this particular issue.
Importance of a strong, sovereign Europe
Scholz stressed that Europe had to grow closer together: “We need a strong, sovereign Europe,” he said. Scholz also explained that the transatlantic alliance and cooperation through NATO had “acquired a whole new meaning for our security”, and that Germany would do everything to help that “security can be achieved together”. The German contribution was its close cooperation with its partners, as well as the Federal Armed Forces’ funds for the special scheme, and the intention to spend two percent of the economic output on defence in the future.
Putin made a “complete misjudgement”
Scholz noted that the brutal war of aggression against Ukraine had been the result of a complete misjudgement made by Russia’s President Putin that would give rise to “a stronger NATO and stronger security organisation, also in the eastern states of the NATO territory”, as well as “a unified European Union and concerted action of many states around the world”. The sanction package would significantly affect Russia’s economic development opportunities.
The Ukraine war’s further consequences for Germany were also discussed in Meseberg. Among the key issues addressed were the reception of refugees from Ukraine and perspectives for those who wish to stay in Germany for longer. The Federal Chancellor pointed out that they should have “good opportunities” for themselves, their children and for professional integration.
Germany wants to maintain a strong economic network
The war in Ukraine and the new general conditions of globalisation, as well as the transformation of the German economy, would all have economic consequences on a global scale that “we must understand as a country,” the Federal Chancellor said. He continued to explain that Germany had one of the strongest economic networks in the world, and that “we want to maintain this with our strong focus on industrial production”.
The related challenges were at the top of the agenda of the discussions held on Tuesday afternoon. The Director of the German Economic Institute, Michael Hüther, and the Director of the Macroeconomic Policy Institute, Sebastian Dullien, had come to Meseberg to attend this part of the meeting as guests. In the evening, the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck and the Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner spoke about the content of the discussions. Federal Chancellor Scholz stressed that all Cabinet members had found the debate “beneficial” and considered it “helpful guidance for many individual issues that we have to resolve on a daily basis”.
The Cabinet meeting was also characterised by issues related to the Ukraine war
The regular Cabinet meeting that concluded the event was also characterised by issues related to the Ukraine war and its consequences, Scholz said. One of the topics addressed were qualified professionals that were now coming to Germany also from Russia. Another issue discussed was the global food crisis caused by the war. The Federal Chancellor said that Germany would not abandon those countries whose food security was now at risk.
He also pointed out that the Federal Cabinet would shortly be adopting draft laws aiming to achieve independence of fossil fuel imports from Russia, such as the LNG Acceleration Act. The law for implementing the sanctions that focusses on those benefiting from Putin’s regime, would also be adopted shortly.
Scholz explained that all of these issues were closely linked, and that it had therefore been important for the government “to explore them at such depth”.
The coalition is distinguished by good cooperation
The Federal Chancellor stressed that the Cabinet members were “very close on a personal level”, and that the coalition was distinguished by good cooperation. The closed meeting had helped once more to “pursue the hard and necessary work that we must do, in such a trying time in particular, jointly and in solidarity”.
The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck agreed with this view. The Vice Chancellor emphasised that the past few months had been “a time requiring the highest degree of focus” that had given rise to “strong awareness of the fact that we are experiencing a historic moment which we as the government, as Germany and within Europe must weather”. The closed meeting had allowed the Cabinet members to take a little more time to “ask questions, contemplate and to realign one’s field of vision”.
Focussed and occasionally relaxed atmosphere
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner also stressed that the Federal Cabinet had addressed difficult questions at the closed meeting, but had done so “in a focussed and occasionally relaxed atmosphere”. There had also been some shared laughter, which was important in challenging times and an expression of “a partnership-based approach for tackling these things”.