Scholz defense – POLITICO Germany wants to prove serious

BERLIN – As Germany is on track to miss NATO’s 2 percent defense spending target, Chancellor Olaf Scholz is planning two dedicated speeches to mark the so-called first anniversary. deadline A sea change in German foreign policy, demanding a greater role as Europe’s security provider.

Scholz is preparing to speak at the Munich Security Conference in the Bavarian capital next weekend and issue an official declaration in the German Bundestag the week of February 27, nearly a year after Russia’s full-scale aggression began. Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the preparations.

Also, officials are preparing a possible meeting of the Franco-German-Polish “Weimar Triangle” alliance on the sidelines of the Munich conference, which would bring together Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Polish President Andrzej Duda to discuss European security challenges, although the meeting has not been finalized. According to two other officials in Berlin and Paris.

As for Scholz’s private speech, the content is still being drafted, but the chancellor is expected to highlight the achievements of his first year of foreign policy changes and claim a new German leadership role as a security provider in Europe.

In his speech last year, Scholz announced that his government would set up a special €100 billion fund to rapidly upgrade its long-underdeveloped armed forces, the Bundeswehr, and pledged that Germany would adhere to NATO’s 2 percent spending target in the future. GDP on defense.

Berlin went hand-in-hand with a historic foreign policy shift, reversing its previous negative stance on arms support for Ukraine – although that vexed issue has continued to be in the back of its mind for the past 12 months.

Germany has steadily, albeit ambivalently, increased its military support for Ukraine and is now taking the lead in supplying Kiev with German-made Leopard tanks. On Thursday, Scholz pressed European partners to stop dragging their feet and deliver the Leopard, so that a German-led coalition could come together to send 80 battle tanks to Ukraine.

A controversial topic revolves around deadlineBut, defense spending: Germany is currently on track to miss NATO’s 2 percent defense spending target and will likely miss it in 2024, despite €100 billion in special funds.

Berlin’s new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, is pushing behind the scenes to raise defense spending by 10 billion euros to about 60 billion euros next year to finance new investments such as ammunition purchases, and a 2 percent spending target, an official said.

Clea Callcutt in Paris contributed reporting.