Germany is the most populous nation, with the greatest economic power and is located in the center of the continent and therefore “the German armed forces must become the cornerstone of conventional defense in Europe and the best equipped force in Europe“, the chancellor said Olaf Solz and stressed that the main mission of the Bundeswehr is to defend freedom in Europe.
Speaking at the German Armed Forces Conference in Berlin, Mr Scholz pointed out that the Bundeswehr must return to its core mission of national and allied defence.
“All other duties must be subordinated to it“, he said, referring to the work of the armed forces in providing humanitarian aid, dealing with natural disasters and even vaccination during the pandemic.
“A good army like the Bundeswehr should be able to do all that, but that’s not your primary mission! Your main mission is to defend freedom in Europe“, especially in view of the threat from Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the chancellor added. “Putin’s Russia – we are preparing for this in NATO – is currently the biggest threat to our Alliance (…) A former German Defense Minister may have thought that we are surrounded only by friends“, he underlined and spoke of a “strongly armed nuclear power which is trying to redraw the borders in Europe by force and only someone who does not listen and read the media can doubt that”.
Soltz also referred to Germany’s determination to assume leading responsibility for the continent’s security, but also for the need for a stronger role for Europe within NATO. To this end, he continued, a review of German arms system export regulations is necessary.
Those in place, he said, hinder European cooperation in the field, as jointly developed weapons for export are subject to strict rules – to the chagrin of some countries – partners with looser regulations. “Stronger cooperation in the field of armaments would be possible if – and this is an absolute condition – we succeed in revising our national reservations and regulations on the export and use of jointly manufactured defense systems,” noted the chancellor and specifically mentioned that ” some may be surprised, but the federal government is ready for this.”
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