Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on all democrats to stand together in the fight against right-wing extremism. During his speech in the Bundestag debate on the budget, he thanked all those who took part in rallies throughout Germany in recent days “in support of democracy and the Basic Law – lest we forget”. He said that the idea of Germany leaving the European Union was a hypothetical notion that would inflict the “greatest destruction of prosperity” that could possibly happen.
Important decisions in migration policy
Scholz also said that the Federal Government had made very far-reaching decisions with regard to irregular migration. Three meetings with the federal states had taken place on this topic in the past year at which joint solutions were agreed, he went on to say, including a definitive funding mechanism, quicker asylum procedures and faster implementation of digitalisation in immigration authorities. An initiative has been launched to ensure that Ukrainian refugees are actively placed in the labour market more quickly.
The Federal Chancellor also emphasised that the Federal Government had taken action to counteract the shortage of skilled workers with its Skilled Workers Immigration Act and the amendment of citizenship law. The level of employment in Germany is currently higher than ever before. “Work is worth the effort again,” the Federal Chancellor said, adding that this was thanks to the minimum wage, and that the burden on the working middle classes was also being eased by means of tax cuts.
Ongoing support for Ukraine
“We must support Ukraine in its fight for freedom,” Federal Chancellor Scholz stated. He continued by saying that Germany's dedication to promoting peace in Europe must not dwindle. Germany is Ukraine's biggest supporter after the USA. However, Scholz pointed out that Germany could not carry the burden on its own, if the USA were to reduce its support: “We want more countries to get actively involved.” Putin had to be prevented from getting the impression that the level of support would decrease eventually, Scholz continued: “We need togetherness and solidarity.”
The Federal Chancellor calls on the EU to provide Ukraine with sustainable and long-term military support. This is stated in a joint guest article for the Financial Times which Scholz wrote together with the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, the Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, the Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Strengthening Europe – enabling investment
A strong, sovereign Europe was needed in a globalised world, as well as joint efforts to ensure that Europe moved forward, Scholz said, adding that it was essential for Europe to stand together in these times. The Federal Chancellor’s specific suggestion in this context is to establish a banking and capital market union. Standardised basic tax and corporation tax would mean real progress for Europe, he said. Scholz concluded by pointing out that the conditions for banks to invest in companies should be improved.