Make peace with weapons: traffic light parties and Union agree
The supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine was hotly disputed. Now a solidarity: The Union joins a request of the governing parties.
After weeks of wrangling in the Bundestag, the opposition Union and the traffic light coalition want to vote together for the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine.
This is “a strong signal of responsibility for Ukraine and unity against the Russian war of aggression,” according to a statement distributed in Berlin on Wednesday evening, which was made by the parliamentary group leaders Rolf Mützenich (SPD), Katharina Dröge and Britta Haßelmann (Greens), Christian Dürr (FDP), Friedrich Merz (CDU) and CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt. The motion is to be debated and passed in the Bundestag on Thursday morning.
“Germany stands firmly on the side of Ukraine in its struggle for freedom,” says the statement accompanying the paper, which is entitled “Defending Peace and Freedom in Europe – Comprehensive Support for Ukraine”. Supporting Ukraine’s right to self-defense is important for protecting peace and freedom in Europe and also for finding a diplomatic solution. “The delivery of military goods is a key aspect here, along with humanitarian and financial support for Ukraine and the comprehensive economic and personal sanctions against Russia,” emphasized all sides.
Bundeswehr special fund: traffic light goes to Union
The Union faction withdrew its own motion after making changes to the SPD, Greens and FDP paper. The changes concern wording in connection with the planned 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr.
SPD parliamentary group leader Mützenich, who had repeatedly been critical of such deliveries, wrote to the SPD MPs that, with the consent of the coalition factions, he had reached an agreement for a joint application on Thursday in talks with Union faction leader Merz.
With the compromise, the Union faction withdrew its own – more extensive – proposal after having achieved changes to the draft by the SPD, Greens and FDP. The Union faction leadership had called a decoupling of the planned 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr as a condition for their approval.
The unified version of the application now states that the Bundestag is calling on the federal government to “implement the draft law to set up a “Bundeswehr special fund” to strengthen alliance and defense capabilities and the associated investments as quickly as possible”. According to this information, the words “in the sense of the decision of the federal cabinet” would be removed from the traffic light draft, since the Union does not agree with the previous wording of the cabinet decision.
Possible Russian reaction: “Cannot rule out anything”
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock defended the German government’s decision to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine – also against the background of warnings of an impending nuclear escalation. What steps Russia takes in the war is entirely at the discretion of President Vladimir Putin, said the Green politician in the Bundestag when asked what role the threat of nuclear war played in the decision. Baerbock added: “That’s why we can’t completely rule out anything.”
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) announced on Tuesday the delivery of Gepard anti-aircraft tanks from industrial stocks and the training of Ukrainian soldiers on German soil. The planned delivery should also be supplemented with a larger amount of ammunition. Talks are being held with Brazil, which received cheetah ammunition from Germany in previous years, as the German Press Agency in Berlin learned. According to this, up to 300,000 shots for up to 50 Cheetah tanks could be procured in this way.
The constitution should be changed
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (SPD) campaigned for the opposition’s approval of the planned special fund for better equipment for the Bundeswehr. “It’s not about the militarization of foreign policy, but about one thing: you have to be able to fight in order not to have to fight. And that’s why the Bundeswehr has to be strengthened, »said Lindner in the Bundestag.
The introduction of the special fund is to be ensured through an amendment to the Basic Law. The coalition also needs the Union for the necessary two-thirds majority in the Bundestag. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced the rearmament of the Bundeswehr at the end of February as a consequence of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
The Union faction insists on a permanent increase in the defense budget as a condition for the approval of the planned 100 billion special fund. “The turning point does not mean a one-time payment to the Bundeswehr, but a standing order to our defense capability,” said Dobrindt. Dobrindt said that good talks were being held as to whether an agreement could be reached in connection with the special fund. However, the result is open.