Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz described Belgium as an important neighbour and thanked Prime Minister Alexander De Croo for his visit “in these eventful and worrying times,” adding that the two countries were closely linked politically, economically and culturally. “And Belgium is a fundamental like-minded partner for us in the EU and internationally, for example in the United Nations and in foreign deployments,” said Scholz.
Russia must immediately end the war
The discussions held by the two heads of government in the Chancellery in Berlin focused on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and its consequences, the Federal Chancellor reported. “We call on President Putin unequivocally to end the war of aggression against Ukraine. Alexander De Croo and I agree that we will make every effort to support Ukraine, including supplying weapons.”
Aid for Ukrainian people takes priority
Scholz continued that they were also prepared to adopt further sanctions if necessary.
There was also consensus on the European Union’s effort to provide fast and dedicated aid to the suffering Ukrainian population. The Federal Chancellor announced that there would be another joint discussion of Russian aggression and of support for Ukraine at the extraordinary European Council meeting at the end of May.
War necessitates far-reaching changes
Federal Chancellor Scholz said that one consequence of the Russian war of aggression was the aim of becoming independent of Russian fossil energy imports as quickly as possible. “That’s why we must put all our strength into expediting the .” The development of renewable energies and the strong and consistent reduction of fossil energy consumption were now also a question of European security, resilience and sovereignty, Scholz said, adding an appeal that “we need an ambitious package for this.”
Furthermore, he added, Russia’s attack on Ukraine signified a turning point for the Euro-Atlantic area in terms of security and defence policy. Scholz announced that the NATO Summit in Madrid in July would be used to decide on the future direction of the Alliance and on the necessary military alignment in view of the new security situation. This format would also be used to discuss the question of how the EU states could coordinate their defence investment even better and use it more effectively.
Expediting the rapprochement with the Western Balkan states
It was also strategically important for Europe to reach concrete agreements quickly in order to support all six Western Balkan states and to approve their further rapprochement with the EU, said Scholz. He stressed: “Europe must keep its promises.”
Reforming the European asylum system
In addition, the war against Ukraine and the dramatic movement of refugees once again revealed the urgency of a reform to bring about a functional, fair and crisis-proof common European asylum system. Scholz stressed the goal to expedite this issue, too. He promised the support of the Federal Government for the French Council Presidency’s reform approach.