Chancellor Scholz is confident that Germany can quickly become independent of Russian energy. He rejects an embargo – as well as tax increases to finance the crisis.
Berlin – Chancellor Olaf Scholz has rejected criticism that Germany is helping to finance Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine with its energy imports from Russia.
“Russia currently cannot do anything with the money it is storing in its accounts because of our sanctions,” said the SPD politician on the ARD program “Anne Will”. It’s about a few hundred billion in foreign exchange reserves. “Therefore, it is very unlikely that this connection even exists.”
Germany’s dependence on Russian energy imports will be eliminated “quite quickly”. With coal, if everything goes well, this could happen quickly this year, Scholz announced. This can also happen very quickly with oil. And for gas, plans that had been in the drawer for a long time have “now been activated”. The technical infrastructure is being created at great speed in order to be able to import gas from other suppliers.
Scholz against embargo
Scholz again rejected an immediate import boycott. He warned: “It’s about an unbelievable number of jobs.” Conversely, should Russia end its exports, Germany would be prepared. “But if these imports stopped from one day to the next, it would mean that entire branches of industry would have to stop their activities.”
Scholz also rejected the Ukrainian proposal for a one-month embargo. Responsible politics must have the courage to speak the truth. “And the truth is that if we did that, we would trigger a major economic crisis.” It wouldn’t be that easy to do in Europe either. For example, Italy is highly dependent on Russian imports. Some Eastern European countries have networks that are linked to the Russian network from earlier times, but not to the Western networks.
No tax increases to finance the crisis
Scholz also rejected tax increases to finance the consequences of the war and at the same time stuck to the debt brake. He referred to the agreements of the traffic light parties in their coalition agreement. “We have reached an understanding in the coalition between the three parties on the issues of both the debt brake and the issue of tax increases. And all three of them will ultimately stick to them.”
When asked whether the debt brake would be observed again in the coming year, the SPD politician said: “It’s in the Basic Law.” Scholz referred to earlier statements about the Corona crisis that Germany was able to quickly get a lot of money for maintenance to mobilize the economy and jobs because it had done well before and reduced the national debt. “One thing is clear: this is for the crisis,” he said, referring to the current high level of borrowing. “But there is also a time without a crisis.”
Anti-missile shield based on the Israeli model?
Scholz is considering setting up a missile defense shield for the whole of Germany based on the Israeli model. “That’s definitely one of the things we advise for good reason,” said Scholz when asked whether an “Iron Dome” (iron dome) should be stretched across the country like in Israel.
In justification, he said with a view to Russia: “We must all prepare for the fact that we have a neighbor who is currently prepared to use violence to assert his interests. That’s why we have to make ourselves so strong together that this doesn’t happen.”
Scholz did not want to comment on the details yet. “I have resolved not to divulge the details of a plan that has not yet been finalized.”
Change of power in Russia is not a NATO goal
Scholz has also made it clear that NATO is not seeking a change of power in Russia. “That is not the goal of NATO, nor of the American President, by the way,” he said on the ARD program “Anne Will”.
He was responding to a statement by US President Joe Biden, who had openly questioned the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “For God’s sake, this man can’t stay in power,” Biden said.
Scholz pointed out that he had discussed this question with Biden during his inaugural visit to the White House – even before the Ukraine war. “We are both completely in agreement that regime change (regime change) is not an object or goal of the politics that we pursue together.” It is “the matter of the peoples and nations themselves” to fight for their freedom.
Scholz threatens to take “dramatic measures” on chemical weapons
Chancellor Scholz has threatened Russia with “dramatic measures” if chemical weapons are used. “The use of biological and chemical weapons must not take place and that is why we are all so explicit, so explicit on this issue,” he said. “That would have the harshest consequences, and we agree that we will of course react with dramatic measures.”
There are already considerations about these measures, said Scholz. “But of course that’s nothing to talk about.” However, the chancellor made it clear that NATO would not enter the war over Ukraine even if chemical or biological weapons were used. “NATO will not become a party to the war, that’s clear.” dpa
#Germany #finance #Putins #war