Talks in turbulent times

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Federal Chancellor meets NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg Talks in turbulent times

Boosting deterrence and protecting critical infrastructure – Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed a range of different topics. At their meeting, the two leaders emphasised their joint commitment in difficult times.

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Federal Chancellor Scholz with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

From next year, Germany will meet the target of spending two percent of its gross domestic product on defence, said the Federal Chancellor at his meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg.

Photo: Federal Government/Kugler

At his meeting with the Secretary General of NATO at the Chancellery in Berlin, Federal Chancellor Scholz spoke of turbulent times: current challenges meant “going beyond the familiar”, said the Federal Chancellor. Germany was doing a lot to increase its defence capabilities at the present time, said Scholz, including permanently stationing an entire brigade of the Federal Armed Forces in Lithuania. The Federal Chancellor also took this opportunity to thank the soldiers involved.

Increasing defence and response capabilities

The Federal Chancellor said that Germany would meet the NATO target of spending two percent of GDP on defence from next year onwards. Large military units would have to be put on high alert in future, he said.

“But the efforts of the whole of society are required if we are to protect our country,” emphasised Scholz. The subsequent talks would focus on how to better protect critical infrastructure in future, especially underwater, said the Federal Chancellor. He thanked the Secretary General for NATO’s quick response to the Federal Chancellor's initiative.

NATO as a guarantor of security

In view of recent tensions, missions that have already begun continue to require attention, too. The Federal Chancellor emphasised that the KFOR mission in Kosovo had to be “in a position to respond appropriately to all developments,” and that NATO  was the “guarantor of security in the Western Balkans”.

In addition to Russia’s attack on Ukraine – to which NATO had been responding continuously for 21 months – the talks between the Federal Chancellor and the NATO Secretary General also focused on the situation in the Middle East and around the world. The aim was to “boost our joint defence and deterrence capabilities within the alliance,” emphasised Scholz.

Milestone event in Washington

Despite the tense defence policy situation, Federal Chancellor Scholz concluded his speech with a reason to celebrate; he expressed his delight at the fact that NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg would continue to be a leading figure at the 75th anniversary summit of NATO in Washington in 2024.