“Putin will not achieve goals”: Chancellor Scholz announces new sanctions on Russia

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced new EU sanctions against Russia. The EU will support Ukraine “as long as necessary” against Russian attacks, Scholz said on Wednesday in a government statement in the Bundestag according to the speech manuscript. “Putin will not achieve his goals – neither on the battlefield nor through a dictated peace,” he added.

“As the European Union, we will tighten the sanctions against Russia again on the anniversary of the beginning of the war,” said Scholz, referring to the deliberations at the special EU summit on Thursday in Brussels and the anniversary of the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Germany is one of Ukraine’s main financial supporters. “We are also far ahead in continental Europe when it comes to supplying weapons and ammunition,” emphasized Scholz in view of the debates about tank deliveries and criticism from Eastern Europe. The highest good of the western states is cohesion.

“What harms our unity is a public outbidding competition along the lines of: main battle tanks, submarines, airplanes – who wants more?” the chancellor warned at the same time. In an allusion to traffic light politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP, he also criticized “pithy domestic political statements and criticism of partners and allies on the open stage”. Dissonance and speculation about possible differences in interests were only of use to the Russian president and his propaganda.

Scholz again emphasized that despite all the help for Ukraine, NATO should not become a war party. Weapon deliveries will continue to be coordinated very closely with partners. He again promised Ukraine future EU membership.

Scholz promises states and municipalities continued support for refugees

Scholz promised the states and municipalities continued support in taking in refugees. He “extremely” welcomes the fact that Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) has announced another top-level meeting with the federal states and municipalities on the subject. As in the previous year, the federal government is “giving billions to help the states and municipalities this year to provide for the well-being of those who arrive”.

In his government statement at the EU summit on Thursday and Friday, Scholz also saw progress in cooperation at European level. The agreement of the EU Council of Ministers on rules for the identification of migrants using biometric data is “the be-all and end-all of any successful reform of our asylum system”. Because clarity is needed about who is coming to Europe. Here, the negotiations with the European Parliament must now be pushed forward “at high pressure”.

The EU Commission has also made “important proposals” for better protection of the EU’s external borders, such as “better, joint border patrols with our neighboring countries,” said Scholz. He is therefore “confident that a reform of the European asylum system is still possible in the current European legislative period,” said Scholz. This ends with the election of the European Parliament in June 2024.

Scholz promises help for the earthquake region

Scholz promised the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria further help. “The federal government has promised the Turkish authorities immediate help,” he says in his government statement. They are in close contact with the UN to bring help to the Syrian earthquake area.

“Now it shows once again how vital this cross-border access is, which we have been campaigning for for years,” said Scholz. He thanks the people in Germany for their great willingness to help. This also shows “how close we feel to our fellow citizens with Turkish or Syrian roots”.

At the beginning of the session, the members of the Bundestag commemorated the earthquake victims with a minute’s silence. The extent “shook us all deeply,” said Bundestag President Bärbel Bas. She remembered the many dead and injured and expressed her sympathy to all those affected and their families and wished them a lot of strength.

EU commission to analyze US subsidies

Scholz is demanding an analysis of the effects of US subsidies for climate-friendly technologies from the EU Commission. Europe does not need to hide when it comes to the amount of its own subsidies in this area, Scholz said on Wednesday in a government statement at the EU summit, according to the speech manuscript. He referred to 250 billion euros in the Corona reconstruction fund, which is available for the decarbonization of European industry.

“So we will take a very close look at whether and where our programs still leave gaps and how these can then be closed. However, this first requires a careful analysis of the kind proposed by the Commission,” added Scholz. Previously, it had been emphasized in government circles that one should not count on far-reaching decisions at the summit due to the lack of preparatory work by the commission. “A subsidy race with the USA would certainly be the wrong approach,” emphasized Scholz. Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck made a similar statement during a visit to the USA.

The central topic of the government statement is the special EU summit on Thursday in Brussels. There, Ukraine policy should once again be the focus. Another topic is likely to be migration policy. A 90-minute debate is planned in the Bundestag after Scholz’s speech.

In the afternoon, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Chancellery Minister Wolfgang Schmidt (SPD) will answer questions from MPs in the government survey. Other items on the agenda on Wednesday are a topical hour on the “crisis on the housing market” and an AfD application on citizenship law.

Government statement on the anniversary of the Russian invasion

Another government statement by the Federal Chancellor in Parliament is planned for March 2nd. This was announced by SPD parliamentary secretary Katja Mast in the morning in Berlin. The occasion is therefore the anniversary of the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

In the first week of the Bundestag session after the anniversary, Scholz wanted to comment on the consequences of the “turning point” triggered by the war of aggression, said Mast. She recalled Scholz’s government statement a few days after the Russian attack, in which the Chancellor had used this term for the first time.

At that time, Scholz had announced, among other things, the 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr that had since been decided and promised German solidarity with Ukraine. (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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