“Security is the key to everything else”

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Federal Chancellor issues government statement “Security is the key to everything else”

In his government statement, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz addressed the current security situation in Germany. He focused on domestic security, following the violent death of a policeman in Mannheim, and the response of the Federal Government.

Federal Chancellor at the lectern in the Bundestag

In his government statement, the Federal Chancellor clearly stated: “Anyone who attacks our freedom and disturbs our peace makes a firm enemy of me, this Federal Government and our constitutional state.”

Photo: Federal Government/Steins

In his government statement to the Bundestag on current security issues, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz concentrated on three topics in particular:

  1. domestic security, especially in the wake of the fatal knife attack in Mannheim
  2. the flooding in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg
  3. the effects of Russia’s war against Ukraine – including in Germany

The Federal Chancellor emphasised that citizens want to know what the current situation is and, above all, what action the Federal Government is taking. He provided answers to this in his government statement.

During the election period, the Federal Chancellor is making government statements on current political topics to the Bundestag. Some of these take place on recurring occasions such as the annual budget debate and the European Councils. The statements are followed by a debate.

The Federal Chancellor announced the following important measures for domestic security:

  • The possibility of demarcating zones where weapons and knives are prohibited, particularly at crime hotspots and major events, is to be provided nationwide.
  • Criminal law is to be tightened in a targeted way in order to enable harsher punishment of treacherous attacks on security forces.
  • The deportation rules are to be adapted to make expressing support for terrorist crimes a serious ground for deportation.
  • The Federal Government plans to include countries such as Syria and Afghanistan as deportation destinations for the most serious criminals and those who pose a terrorist threat. The Federal Ministry of the Interior is searching for legally and practically sound ways to do this.

Read more about the speech:

The Federal Chancellor began his government statement by saying he was looking forward to the European Football Championship in Germany. However, he continued, many events were worrying the population as well as the Federal Government.

He said that everyone in Germany must be able to live without fear of other members of society,
and that this was the central promise made by our constitutional state. “We will enforce this promise with everything in our power,” the Federal Chancellor emphasised.

Whoever attacks freedom will be opposed by the full force of the law 

For Federal Chancellor Scholz, there was only one way to describe the fatal knife attack on a young policeman in Mannheim: terrorism. “We are declaring war on terrorism,” the Federal Chancellor said, adding: “Anyone who attacks our freedom and disturbs our peace makes a firm enemy of me, this Federal Government and our constitutional state.”

The Federal Chancellor expressed his condolences at this difficult time to the family of the policeman who was killed. He was thinking of all the police officers who are mourning, and clearly stated: “We feel with you, we stand behind you, and we stand behind our police.”

It was therefore important, he said, that the Chief Federal Prosecutor had taken over the investigations. Anyone who surreptitiously attacks those women and men who help others and save lives must “feel the full force of the law,” the Federal Chancellor said. To this end, criminal law is to be tightened in a targeted way to allow harsher punishments for such treacherous assaults.

Protecting our democratic coexistence

“Anyone who disagrees with this will have enormous problems – with our police and our judicial system,” said Federal Chancellor Scholz. However, the protection of democracy and of democratic coexistence was also at stake, he said.

In the recent past, there had been frequent attacks on politicians, mayors, council members and district administrators in Germany. The Federal Government now had the task of examining how to strengthen the protection of elected officials and other advocates of democracy. One measure would be a more thorough demarcation of zones where weapons and knives are prohibited, which they already are, for example, at railway stations.

Flooding in Southern Germany

In his government statement, Federal Chancellor Scholz also remembered the victims of the current flooding in Southern Germany. He hoped that the missing persons would be found alive and that the situation would continue to improve. On 3 June 2024, the Federal Chancellor himself had obtained a specific picture of the extent of the flooding in Reichertshofen, Bavaria, which was particularly badly affected.

Tens of thousands of emergency workers are on the spot in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Countless spontaneous helpers are also there. Scholz thanked everyone who was continuing to support others despite exhaustion, saying that their handling of the crisis sent out a strong message of solidarity: “That’s how Germany is. We are strong because we stick together.”

He explained that the Federal Government was helping affected federal states, districts and communities wherever it could – with the Technical Relief Service, soldiers of the Federal Armed Forces, the federal police force and the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance. The warning systems and apps were effective and had saved lives. Federal Chancellor Scholz announced that this practice of solidarity would continue when it came to dealing with the damage. “In times of need, we stick together.
That is the right thing to do, and that is how Germany is,” said Olaf Scholz.

Climate change had caused flooding

He emphasised human-made climate change as the most significant global challenge. “A challenge which is the Federal Government’s top priority from day one,” said Scholz. The Federal Chancellor pointed out the necessity of being better prepared throughout the nation for such disasters. “And this is what we are doing,” he said.

Federal measures include, in particular, the National Flood Protection Programme to support federal states in cross-regional, preventative flood protection. Scholz also cited the implementation of the National Water Strategy and the Natural Climate Protection Action Programme. The Centre for Climate Adaptation helps municipalities to obtain resources from funding programmes. A larger setting for cooperation between the Federation, Länder and communities has been created by the Climate Adaptation Act.

Supporting Ukraine and preventing escalation of the war

In the last section of his government statement, the Federal Chancellor addressed the topic of external security, an issue which continues to concern many citizens, as well as the Federal Government. Federal Chancellor Scholz explained that the Russian offensive against Ukraine had not just brought a great deal of suffering to the people in Ukraine, but that many people in Germany also feared further escalation of the war and therefore a threat to security and peace in Germany.

The Federal Chancellor emphasised that he took these concerns seriously. “As Federal Chancellor, I bear responsibility for ensuring that no child who is born now in Germany ever has to experience war in our country,” said Scholz. This had top priority, he said. “Securing peace does not mean raising the white flag or capitulating in the face of violence and injustice. Peace does not mean submission.”

The Federal Government would not permit Russia to move borders by force, he added. That is why Germany is resolved to continue its support of Ukraine’s defence. Alongside arms deliveries to the Ukrainian army, Germany is also looking to the future and organising a large international reconstruction conference.

Peace summit in Switzerland to send a signal of solidarity

The Federal Government had recently decided that Ukraine would also be able to use German weapons to defend against attacks by Russian forces from positions in the immediately adjacent Russian border area.
Germany had taken this far-reaching decision in very close coordination with its partners while weighing up all the risks. “I stand by this as a Federal Chancellor who is committed to the peace and security of Germany,” the Federal Chancellor said. “Without security, there is nothing.”

A lack of security caused fear to increase, Scholz said, stressing that “peace requires diplomacy.” However, he also tempered expectations for the upcoming peace summit in Switzerland. “No peace negotiations will take place there yet. We are still far away from that as long as Russia believes it can achieve its goals on the battlefield.” Rather, the summit must send out a signal of solidarity that the world stands behind international law and the Charter of the United Nations. In his opinion, it is up to Russia to withdraw its troops and pave the way for a just peace.