Close friendship, close collaboration

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The British Prime Minister in Berlin Close friendship, close collaboration

Germany and the UK continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine, said Federal Chancellor Scholz during British Prime Minister Sunak’s visit. Europe, he said, must strengthen the European pillar of NATO, particularly with respect to deterrence.

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Rishi Sunak in Berlin

Federal Chancellor Scholz and Prime Minister Sunak: their talks were focused on support for Ukraine.

Photo: Federal Government/Bergmann

“Germany and the United Kingdom,” said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz as he welcomed Rishi Sunak during his inaugural visit to Berlin as the Prime Minister of Britain this Wednesday, “are close friends, partners, and allies”.

Click here to read the text of a joint declaration issued by Germany and the United Kingdom on security and defence.

Continuing aid for Ukraine

“Without security,” the Federal Chancellor stressed in relation to the Russian offensive in Ukraine, which has resulted in untold suffering and unbelievable destruction for over two years, “we have nothing”. Scholz emphasised the fact that, as its largest supporters in Europe, Germany, and the UK stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine. The objective, he said, was clear: to support Ukraine in standing firm against Russian aggression “for as long as it takes”, also stressing that “we, the NATO countries, are not at war with Russia.”

Putin has misjudged the situation

The Federal Chancellor referred to the fact that the US Congress had now released aid funding for Ukraine as an “encouraging and necessary signal”. This, he said, shows that Putin’s belief that the West will abandon Ukraine at some point is mistaken. “We're not going to do that,” said Scholz. However, he added, this decision by the USA did not release European countries from the need to provide further support for Ukraine. “All Europeans,” Scholz said, “hould be making the necessary decisions relative to their respective economic strengths”.

Bilateral collaboration

The Federal Chancellor gave assurances that Germany and the UK would continue their close coordination, particularly in relation to joint projects, training the Ukrainian armed forces, and strengthening Ukraine’s industrial defence capacity. The two countries, he said, were already collaborating closely on helicopter training, maintenance, and weapons systems.

Strengthening NATO’s European pillar

In view of the epochal change marked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Scholz said, Europe must pool its efforts to strengthen NATO’s European pillar, especially with regard to deterrence because, he warned, “our European deterrent and defence capability must always be credible”.

In view of the global security situation, he said, much better use must be made of existing capacities. For example, Germany and the UK were already collaborating closely on projects such as the new artillery system (RCH 155) and the Boxer wheeled armoured vehicle, said the Federal Chancellor. The same, he added, applied to the further development of the Eurofighter and the Sky Shield initiative. And finally, he said, the UK’s accession to the Franco-German-Spanish export control agreement was a welcome development.

Advancing the environmental transition

In addition to security policy issues, Federal Chancellor Scholz also focussed on energy policy as another important area of collaboration referring, in particular, to such examples as the use of renewable energies and offshore wind power generation in the North Sea. He also announced a feasibility study by both countries on a German-British hydrogen trade agreement.

Fighting traffickers, managing migration

The two countries’ security authorities, he said, were already collaborating well in the fight against traffickers and organised crime, which was why dialogue and collaboration on migration issues would continue, Scholz stressed, “while respecting fundamental human rights and international law”. Germany, he said, was also focussing on legal immigration channels, which were necessary to ensure future economic growth and prosperity.

Rishi Sunak was born in Southampton in 1980. King Charles III appointed him Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 25 October 2022.