Scholz in the daily topics: “Stay with our course”


Status: 09/21/2022 8:48 p.m

What could Germany’s response to Putin’s threats look like? What role do weapons from Germany play? What about the hakelei in the coalition? in the daily topics-Interview, Chancellor Scholz commented on these and other questions.

daily topics: Mr. Chancellor, the vast majority of countries want to stay out of Russia’s war against Ukraine. How could this be changed?

Olaf Scholz: A majority of the General Assembly condemned the Russian war. Many states have abstained. However, many already know that this is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. It is an unjustifiable war in which Russia is simply trying to appropriate a part of its neighbor’s land in the style of classical imperialism. That will not succeed, and it must not succeed either.

daily topics: But especially in the Global South, Russia and China have long since spread the tale that this is a conflict between the US and Russia – and that the West is always to blame. Doesn’t Germany wake up a bit late?

Scholz: We addressed this question very early on. For example, when we invited the Indonesian President, the Prime Minister of India, the Presidents of South Africa and Senegal – the latter as President of the African Union – and the Argentine President as spokesman for the Latin American and Caribbean countries to the Elmau Summit. And that is very well understood.

I’m sure many of the countries that abstained also feel threatened. Because if it becomes fashionable again for more powerful states to bully others, for them to be suppressed by force, for power not to apply the law, then many countries will be affected themselves. And that’s why we can build on that if we show solidarity. And that’s what we are, for example, with initiatives to feed the world, which we have pushed forward together with the UN Secretary General, so that it is now possible to export grain from Ukraine.

“He failed because of the resistance”

daily topics: You have already described the fact that Putin is now announcing partial mobilization as an act of desperation. It doesn’t exactly sound reassuring, even if it’s supposed to be. Because what do we actually have to fear if the man falls even further behind militarily and becomes even more desperate?

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Scholz: First of all, this escalation shows that Putin is not going through with his plans. He didn’t achieve what he envisioned for Ukraine. It failed because of the resistance of the Ukrainians, but also because of the very extensive military and financial support given to Ukraine by friends and allies, including Germany in particular.

And we have always made our support very comprehensive, but at the same time made sure that there was no escalation between Russia and NATO. And this is exactly the path we will continue to take. We will not recognize the sham referendums that are now being planned. Russia must not and will not get away with its attempt to appropriate a part of the neighboring country.

“Remember that Russia is a nuclear power”

daily topics: But how is what Putin is doing in the West received? He accuses the West of using nuclear blackmail on Russia. Russia has many weapons to answer that. How seriously do you take this threat?

Scholz: It was right from the start to always keep in mind that Russia is a nuclear power. And at the same time always making it clear that certain weapons cannot be used in the conflicts and also in this conflict.

And so, very early on, when there were discussions about the use of biological and chemical weapons, we said that was not acceptable and sent the message that you shouldn’t even think about using them. And now that nuclear weapons are being discussed again, we say: That too is unacceptable. But at the same time, we remain on our measured, resolute course in support of Ukraine and preventing the war from escalating.

daily topics: You warned of a nuclear war very early on, namely right after the start of the war against Ukraine. And since we can’t know when Putin will want to draw which red lines: is the danger greater now?

Scholz: It’s something we had to have in mind from the start. We did too. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean that we’re being prevented from making the necessary decisions now. You can see that Russia’s military plans didn’t go through.

“Weapons from Germany decisive”

daily topics: Does this new form of escalation require a new form of response? Your vice chancellor says today that the federal government is working on a response to Putin’s announcement. What could that look like?

Scholz: We are in close contact with our friends in the European Union and all the others with whom we have always agreed on our joint approach. But what we have done so far always had the dangerous situation in mind. And that’s why we were very determined and made far-reaching decisions.

But we have always done so with the necessary prudence and caution. And I repeat – everyone in Germany can rely on that, that’s what I stand for as Chancellor – that we always make all decisions with the necessary caution and prudence.

daily topics: We know, Mr. Scholz, that you always say what you just said about the loudest demand from Ukraine at the moment, namely the delivery of Western-style battle tanks: the others aren’t doing it either. And Germany is not going it alone. But if you now, like today, also in your speech (Editor’s note: before the UN General Assembly) say that Germany wants to take on more responsibility in the world, why not take the initiative among the partners?

Scholz: Germany has supported Ukraine with a great many weapons. Many of these are crucial to the current conflict in eastern Ukraine. The fact remains that we are not going it alone. And it turns out that this is exactly the path you should take and no other.

“Initiated by the government”

daily topics: One of the consequences of the war is that Germany’s largest gas importer now has to be nationalized. And now everyone is puzzling today as to what actually happens with the gas surcharge. The Treasury Secretary says she’s staying. The Economics Minister says it will only remain as a temporary measure for the time being. Then you have to check again. What do you say?

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Scholz: It is necessary that we make this decision now in order to give Uniper a future. We have reached an agreement on this with the previous shareholder. And indeed the war has far-reaching consequences. You know that we have already supported Uniper with many billions, including loans. We do the same thing, for example when it comes to the former Gazprom Germany, and make sure that everything goes on.

The levy was proposed by the Ministry of Economics and initiated by the government. The legal basis has been created so that we can prevent many consumers and many companies from suffering because their suppliers can no longer carry out the contracts they have concluded with Russia with Gazprom because they are from there not be complied with

This is something that is now to be shouldered collectively, and that reduces the burden on individuals. And by the way, this is a decision that was prepared completely independently and has nothing to do with the one we made today. That’s why it was launched.

“government very closed”

daily topics: In my perception, it is a bit noticeable that the crocheting among your small traffic light partners is increasing. In an interview today, Christian Lindner says it’s not always easy to govern with two left-wing parties. How easy is it to govern with the FDP?

Scholz: The government made very far-reaching decisions in a very, very difficult situation. For example, we can now say that Germany, despite the fact that Russia is no longer supplying gas via Nord Stream, we will get through this winter because we as a government have done everything that was required. And so you see, the government is doing this at great speed and very coherently and with great force. Because that’s necessary in such a difficult situation.

The interview was conducted by Caren Miosga. For the written version, it was edited and significantly shortened. You can find it in its entirety as a video on this page.