Strengthening Germany's security and alliances - continuing support for Ukraine

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Government statement: "one year since the turning point" Strengthening Germany's security and alliances - continuing support for Ukraine

In a government statement on the topic "one year since the turning point", Federal Chancellor Scholz reassured Ukraine once again of the Federal Government's full support in its efforts to bring about a lasting and just peace. At the same time, he said: "Germany has become more resilient in this new era."

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaking in the Bundestag.

Federal Chancellor Scholz in the German Bundestag: "We have come through this winter in good shape. This 'we' refers to our entire country."

Photo: Federal Government/Steins

As Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized in his government statement in the German Bundestag on Thursday, the unity of the European Union, the Group of Seven (G7) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been upheld and strengthened. "We are investing in the safety and security of our country," he said adding that the Federal Government stands firmly by Ukraine in its defence of its sovereignty with a view to bringing about a just peace for the country. "That is why," Scholz said in his government statement on the topic ‘one year since the turning point,’ "we have been providing Ukraine and its citizens with humanitarian, economic, and military aid amounting to in excess of 14 billion euros over the past twelve months." He described this major contribution as "worthy of our country."

"Our arms deliveries are helping Ukraine to defend itself and to persevere." Scholz continued: "That is the only way to ensure that the achievements of civilization on which our peace is based, and which we have enshrined in the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the Charter of Paris, will endure." The Federal Government, he said, always acted in close and trusting coordination with Germany's allies and partners, first and foremost the USA. Now, twelve months after the start of the war, he said, the EU and NATO were more united than ever before.

With regard to the EU, the Federal Chancellor referred to the recently adopted package of sanctions against Russia, the tenth so far. Referring to NATO, he once again emphasised that: "At the same time, we take great care in every decision we make to ensure that NATO does not become an active party in the war."

The European peace order is resilient

Russia's President Putin, he said, was determined to destroy Ukraine as a nation and was still counting on a military victory, making threatening gestures, such as the recent suspension of the New Start treaty with the USA, rather than negotiating for a just peace.

"Our European peace order is resilient. Our pledge 'never again' means that Putin's imperialism must not be allowed to prevail." Scholz stressed: "There will be no such victory, for one thing, because we and our partners will continue to support Ukraine. If he thinks that time is on his side, then Putin is making a huge mistake."

Once again, the Federal Chancellor firmly rejected the idea of a dictatorial peace at Russia's convenience: "One cannot negotiate with a gun held to one's head, except for one's own subjugation." He went on to say that the sooner Putin comes to realize that he will not achieve his imperialist goals and that the international community will not tolerate his violation of international law, the greater the chance that this war will come to an end.

Russian troops must be withdrawn

Talks are currently being held with Kyiv and other partners on future security commitments for the country, he said, to ensure that a just peace can be achieved for Ukraine. The Federal Chancellor continued to clarify that "the essential prerequisite for such security assurances is Ukraine's successfully defending itself in this war."

Referring to the vote in the UN General Assembly last Thursday, the Federal Chancellor welcomed the result as "a clear message from the global community to Putin: Withdraw your troops – and this war will cease immediately!"

Turning to China, the Federal Chancellor praised the country for its unequivocal opposition to the use of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction and for reiterating the "clear message against the use of nuclear weapons" in their twelve-point position paper for peace. China, he added, now had to discuss the ideas presented in the paper with the Ukrainian side as well.

80 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 

Discussing the challenges of the past year, the Federal Chancellor highlighted the fact that: "We Europeans have, after all, rapidly broken free of our dependence on Russian oil, gas, and coal whilst simultaneously turbo-charging the transition towards a carbon-neutral European industry."

At the same time, he said, all of these things were steps towards a geopolitical Europe able to compete on the international stage, not least through new free trade agreements and raw materials partnerships: "Steps, towards a Europe that will continue to assert itself and set standards in the multipolar world of the 21st century."

The Federal Chancellor referred to Germany's newly found speed in terms of industrial transformation and the expansion of renewable energies. "By 2022," said Scholz, "renewable energy sources already accounted for nearly half of electricity production, and the trend is clearly rising. Because we have removed bureaucratic hurdles to expansion. Because we have agreed clear land use targets with the Länder. Because the expansion of renewable energy production facilities is now enshrined in law as an overriding public interest."

Increasing Germany's international competitiveness and resilience

As the Federal Chancellor went on to emphasise, Germany had also become more resilient against the backdrop of these changing times. The Federal Armed Forces, he added, were the most evident demonstration of this: "We are no longer neglecting our armed forces, which is why we have put the Federal Armed Forces special funding package in place. But this is also evidenced by the increase in the defence budget as a whole, which will ensure that we permanently achieve the two percent NATO contribution target."

Important procurement processes had been set in motion, for example for the F35 fighter jets, Scholz explained, adding that the plan was to have the majority of the projects earmarked for special funding under contract before the end of the year.

At the same time, he said, the Federal Government was holding discussions with the defence industry on a significant change of direction towards the rapid, scheduled, and efficient procurement of defence equipment for the Federal Armed Forces and other European armies. "This is how we create an industrial base here in Germany that will contribute to securing peace and freedom in Europe," said the Federal Chancellor: "That, too, is an insight born of this era of change."

UN Charter
The founding document of the United Nations set out its goals and tasks, organs, and competences. Among other things, the goals are to preserve world peace and international security, to settle all disputes peacefully and refrain from the use of force, and to respect the equality and national sovereignty of all states. Two of the most important institutions created by the UN are the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly. The UN Charter entered into force on 24 October 1945. 

Helsinki Final Act
Representatives of 35 states from the Western and Eastern blocs signed the Final Act of the "Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe" (CSCE) in Helsinki on 1 August 1975. In it, the participating states formulated ten principles to govern their relations, pledging, among other things, to respect their sovereign equality, the renunciation of the threat or use of force, the inviolability of borders, and respect for the territorial integrity of all participating states. All European states, except Albania, as well as the Soviet Union, the USA, and Canada took part in the conference.

Charter of Paris
The Cold War finally came to an end at the summit meeting of the 34 CSCE states in Paris in November 1990. As a prelude, the 16 states that made up NATO and the six Warsaw Pact states signed the treaty on the reduction of conventional armed forces in Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals (CFE Treaty), which had only recently been negotiated in Vienna, on 19 November and is the first comprehensive disarmament agreement since 1945.