At the end of a year marked by the Russian war in Ukraine, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on the people of Germany to show confidence and unite. Read his speech.
“Dear fellow citizens, a difficult year is coming to an end tonight. No annual review is complete without the images of February 24, when the first Russian rockets hit Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and other Ukrainian cities at dawn. Putin is waging an imperialist war of aggression in the heart of Europe.
This turning point is also putting us and our country to the test. Many are worried about the war. We sympathize with the Ukrainians, who, even on days like today, cannot rest from the Russian bombs and rockets. And we all feel the consequences of this war in our everyday life: when shopping in the supermarket, at the gas station or when we pay the electricity or gas bill.
And yet the story of this year 2022 is not just about war, suffering and sorrow.
For me, dear fellow citizens, that is also the story of the year 2022. It is about cohesion and strength – and yes, also about confidence. You all helped to write this story – everywhere in our country.
In Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea, for example. Two weeks ago, the “Höegh Esperanza” moored there – a floating terminal that will supply us with liquid gas in the future. Our engineers and skilled workers built the new terminal and the necessary lines in less than 200 days. More liquid gas terminals will go into operation in the coming weeks and months – in Lubmin, in Stade, in Brunsbüttel.
This will make our country and Europe permanently independent of Russian gas. And at the same time we get through this winter. Incidentally, also thanks to well-stocked gas storage tanks and because we have saved energy together over the past few months. This will also remain important in the coming months. And I would like to thank you for that today!
The story of the year 2022 is about a country where we stand up for others. From 29 million volunteers and volunteers up and down the country. About the overwhelming compassion and helpfulness with which so many of you meet the refugees from Ukraine.
In Cologne I met women and men who care for Ukrainian war refugees. Among the newcomers at that time was a whole women’s football team, some with their children. These women not only had to leave behind their belongings in the Ukraine. But also your husbands, boyfriends, fathers and brothers. The fact that we help in times of need is what sets us apart. That makes our country a more humane country.
Those who work for our security are also writing the history of our country at this turning point. For example in the police or in the armed forces, in our fire brigades or in the rescue services.
At a military training area in Bergen in the Lüneburg Heath, I experienced how conscientiously our soldiers train to defend our country, our friends and allies against all threats. For this they deserve the utmost respect – and our gratitude.
In 2022 I experienced Germany as a country that is innovative.
And that’s true! With their work, they also ensure that our country has a good future.
Dear fellow citizens, there are places like Munich and Allendorf, Cologne and Schwarzheide, Bergen and Wilhelmshaven all over our country. Places where you work hard and tinker. Where everyone lends a hand. And where people stick together and are there for each other: in clubs and citizens’ initiatives, with the volunteer fire brigade, in hospitals and nursing homes, in schools and kindergartens, at village and city festivals. This is Germany at the beginning of this new year!
A strong country. A country that is working with energy and speed towards a good, secure future. A country that joins forces, especially in difficult times. A country in which we leave no one behind – whether in the city or in the country, whether old or young, whether well-off or less well-off, whether they were born here or came here later.
To ensure that everyone in Germany can cope with the increased prices, we put together large relief packages last year. Tomorrow, on New Year’s Day, further innovations will come into force:
Dear fellow citizens, our cohesion is our greatest asset. That’s why I wish one thing for us at the beginning of this new year: Let’s stay true to the path we took last year! Let’s go boldly on! Above all, let’s stick together in the coming year – between Munich and Wilhelmshaven, between Schwarzheide in Lusatia and Cologne in the Rhineland!
Wherever you are saying goodbye to the old year tonight and perhaps toasting the new one with your family or friends: I wish you from the bottom of my heart that this new year will be a good one for you!”