BERLIN – In an unusual speech to a special session of Parliament on Sunday, Prime Minister Olaf Scholz announced a significant increase in military spending, reversing the country’s long-standing policy of favoring containment. conflict.
Scholz announced a one-time increase of 100 billion euros ($113 billion) in defense spending and pledged to spend more than 2% of Germany’s economic output annually on defense. He also proposed including that threshold in the country’s constitution, ensuring that future governments follow it.
The moves are part of a surprising – and abrupt – reversal to German foreign policy for decades, which came as European nations banded together to fend off invasion of Russia into Ukraine. Scholz described Russia’s military action as having “created a new reality” that “requires a clear response”.
In the past 24 hours, Germany’s foreign and military policy has undergone amazing changes. On Saturday, the government announced it would send 1,000 man-portable anti-tank missiles and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine, dismissing a longstanding government policy of not sending weapons to conflict zones. Germany also announced that it had allowed the Dutch government to send Ukraine 400 German-made anti-tank weapons and the Estonian government to send nine Cold War-era cannons, the deliveries of which were blocked for months. .
The German government also said it would work with allies to cut key Russian banks from the money transfer network known as SWIFT, and announced it would close German airspace to civilian planes. of Russia.
Just a few weeks ago, The German government was punished for what critics called a tedious response to Russia’s troop buildup, after it announced it would send Ukraine 5,000 helmets and a field hospital to help it defend itself.
Mr. Scholz also railed against Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, who he said on Sunday “coldly launched a war of aggression. For one reason only: the freedom of Ukrainians to challenge their own oppressive regime”.
Maintaining defense funding at 2% of gross domestic product is a goal set for NATO member states that Germany has failed to achieve since the end of the Cold War. To reduce dependence on Russia for energy, Mr. Scholz also announced the construction of two liquefied natural gas terminals in Germany, following the government’s decision last week to halt the gas pipeline. Nord Stream 2 from Russia to Germany.
Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin, who demanded that German weapons fall in his seemingly deaf ears for months, watched the speech from the balconies of visitors and was welcomed by lawmakers from all sides. Welcome in a minute. In another manifestation of unity in Germany’s often hard-fought Parliament, even most far-right lawmakers, who often loudly oppose speeches coming from the government, applauded the politicians. Mr. Scholz’s remarks.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/27/world/europe/germany-military-budget-russia-ukraine.html Germany announced an increase in defense spending amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine