Germany: Chancellor Scholz called to keep his promises in terms of increasing army means

A year ago, Olaf Scholz announced a considerable effort to modernize the Bundeswehr, against the backdrop of war in Ukraine. The Christian Democratic opposition criticizes the slowness of the implementation of the announced moult.

by Thomas Wieder (Berlin, correspondent)

The announcement was made up to time. Friday, February 24, Germany indicated that it would provide eighteen Leopard 2 tanks in Ukraine, four more than expected. A year to the day after the start of the war, the message was clear: if Berlin was slow to give the green light to sending combat tanks to Kiev, at the end of January, no one must now doubt his determination to them deliver.

This voluntarism displayed, twelve months after the start of hostilities, is also a way of marking another anniversary: ​​that of the speech that Olaf Scholz delivered to the Bundestag gallery on February 27, 2022. Three days after the invasion of Ukraine, the German Chancellor announced that Berlin was going to provide weapons to Kiev, getting out of his dependence on Russian gas and creating a special fund of 100 billion euros to modernize the Bundeswehr. In doing so, he promises, “we will invest more than 2 % of the gross domestic product in our defense”, the threshold set by NATO to its members by 2024.

A year later, what remains of this founding speech? For the conservative opposition, who had warmly applauded the social democratic chancellor, the balance sheet is meager. “In fact, the Zeitenwende [the change of time], these are beautiful words, but practically no act,” estimates Roderich Kiesewetter, specialist in defense questions to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Of the 100 billion euros promised for the Bundeswehr, barely more than a tenth has already been argued. On arms deliveries, we could have gone much faster if the Chancellor had not constantly kept on the brake. In in The speech of the Zeitenwende, there was a promise of leadership. Germany, finally, was going to play a driving role in Europe. A year later, we are still waiting. “

” The path is traveled is Huge “

To those who criticize the chancellor for not having done enough, his supporters answer that he has already done a lot: “We must remember where we come from. Before the war, Germany was principle Not to deliver arms to countries at war. A year later, she sends combat tanks. The path traveled is enormous, observes Michaël Roth, Social Democratic President (SPD) of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee , for whom Mr. Scholz acted at the right pace. The slowness trial is easy. But when one is Chancellor, it is important to take citizens with you. So that such ruptures in our foreign and defense policy are accepted , it necessarily takes a little time. “

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/Media reports cited above.