Strong sayings or a master plan for the country? Olaf Scholz is struggling with himself and with the turning point he has invoked.
Olaf Scholz will probably break one of his most important promises. Germany will “from now on – year after year – invest more than two percent of the gross domestic product in our defense”, the Federal Chancellor announced on February 27, 2022 in the Bundestag.
But the Federal Republic did not reach NATO’s two percent target last year. That was to be expected, after all the old budget was planned before the war began. But according to calculations by the German Economic Institute, Germany will not keep its international commitments in 2023 either.
It is not about an abstract number, but about a fundamental question: Can Scholz manage to lead the country through the turning point he has proclaimed in such a way that it is better prepared for the dangers of this time?
The 100 billion special assets are not enough for the Bundeswehr for five years. And then? The armed forces do not receive any additional funds in the core budget. long-term planning? none.
National and alliance defense is a core task of the state. So when will the turning point in security policy lead to a turning point in economic and financial policy?
After the war began, the chancellor promised that all of the projects in the coalition agreement would be implemented. Means: Nowhere should be shortened. But more money for the armed forces, social welfare and climate protection – that is only possible with more debt, tax increases and/or budget cuts.
And then there is the second side of the turning point: How far does German aid for Ukraine go? The United States, France and Germany recently decided to supply Ukraine with reconnaissance and infantry fighting vehicles. Main battle tanks like the Leopard 2 are not yet on the list. But at some point the Soviet tanks that Ukraine is currently using will break down.
What if the war is still raging? Many security experts predict that if Ukraine wants to survive, it will need Western battle tanks.
For Olaf Scholz, 2023 will be the year in which he has to prove whether he is the right person for and in this turning point or whether he will disappoint the expectations he has raised.