German Prime Minister Olaf Scholz also spoke about the war debate in Germany at a meeting with Chilean entrepreneurs in Santiago on Sunday.
Myrtle MuellerOutside Reporter News
Actually, Olaf Scholz (64) is talking about a free trade agreement, lithium deliveries and saving the rainforest these days. The German Chancellor has been on a tour of South America since Saturday. He visited Argentina, then flew to Chile before continuing to Brazil.
Bad news from home reached the chancellor on the other side of the world as well. In Germany, the debate about the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine continues. After the battle tanks, Volodymyr Zelensky (45) is now also calling for fighter jets. Scholz categorically rejected this a few days ago. He does not want an escalation in the war with Russia. But his Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (44) is making sure of that. Even if unintentionally.
Last Tuesday, the Green politician appealed to Western allies in front of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (F) to “fight together in the war against Russia and not against each other”. The foreign minister had thus declared the West a party to the war. Moscow reacted with outrage.
Scholz warns of “outbidding competition”
Despite clear words, SPD leader Saskia Esken (61) stabs her chancellor in the back on Sunday on the ZDF program “Berlin direct”. When asked about the fighter jets, the social democrat dodged. Instead of saying that Germany does not supply Tornados, Esken replies that the government is in very close consultation with the Americans on these issues. From the CDU/CSU it is said that the government should not draw red lines when it comes to arms deliveries to Ukraine.
Olaf Scholz is upset. “It is idiosyncratic that this debate is being held.” What is needed instead is a serious debate in which it is decided what needs to be decided. From far away Chile, Scholz warned against a “biding competition” for domestic political reasons.
Again and again discord in the traffic light coalition
The new year was politically overshadowed by the discord within the traffic light coalition. Olaf Scholz was attacked because the German Chancellor hesitated with the delivery of Leopard 2 main battle tanks, making them dependent on a delivery of US tanks. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (64), Vice-President of the FDP, states in front of the TV cameras: “Germany has failed.”
Whether Ukraine help, corona vaccination, nuclear energy, tank discounts, debt brakes – there has always been trouble in the traffic light in the one year since it was founded. Does Olaf Scholz still have his government under control? “Absolutely,” says Ursula Münch and gives several reasons. “Although the small but very self-confident coalition partners are demanding that political decisions be made on an equal footing, none of them is interested in a change of government or even in new elections. There is currently no alternative for them, »says the political scientist from the Academy for Political Education in Tutzing (D).
“Olaf Scholz keeps the shop together”
Olaf Scholz also has a certain authority, says Münch. “He relies on leadership and not on communication,” the Munich professor continues, “since the Chancellor’s Party has fewer votes than the Greens and the FDP together, the coalition partners are gaining weight.” Despite all the differences, the traffic light got a lot going during this very difficult time. Germany has come through the winter well so far. Inflation is going down slightly. Social tensions and protest movements were absent.
Münch considers Olaf Scholz to be assertive and integrative. “The chancellor lets his partners do a lot. He keeps the place together.” It was also less his own members of the government who tried to push Scholz in certain directions, but rather the factions. Front and center Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann from the FDP and Anton Hofreiter (52) from the Greens. It’s probably more about personal ambitions, says Ursula Münch.