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"Germany's role in Europe at a turning point" was the subject of the security policy talks held on Tuesday evening with Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht at the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS) in Berlin. "An incredible amount" has to be done for this turning point, according to the department head. In doing so, she subsumed numerous aspects from her area of ​​responsibility under the concept of a turning point: support for Ukraine, more German assumption of responsibility for the defense of the alliance, closing the air defense gap through the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI), more money for the individual plan 14, faster procurement, better Armaments cooperation with European partners as well as continuous evaluation of all Bundeswehr missions abroad.

The SPD politician named weapons deliveries, repairs and training as instruments of support for Ukraine. In the coming year, three more IRIS-T air defense systems are to be delivered. A repair workshop including a spare parts store is being set up in Slovakia near the border with Ukraine. Up to 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers will be trained in Germany next summer. In addition, the militarily harassed country will be supported by the admission of more than a million refugees in the Federal Republic and by the delivery of "winter aid".

Lambrecht referred to a historical obligation within the Atlantic Alliance: While the Federal Republic primarily consumed security during the Cold War, it is now time to produce security for NATO's eastern flank. But: In order to maintain the ability to defend the country, German armaments could not be handed over to partners indefinitely. In general, better armament cooperation within Europe by refinancing development costs through exports is necessary. For this reason, the previously restrictive German arms export guidelines would be revised.

A few hours before the minister's BAKS keynote, she had agreed with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Development Minister Svenja Schulze in the Chancellery to start withdrawing the German MINUSMA contingent from Mali from the summer of next year, which was used there for February 2024 planned elections and to have left the West African country completely by May of the same year at the latest.

In the discussion that followed, moderated by BAKS President, Ambassador Ekkehard Brose, Lambrecht pointed out that the realization of NATO's two percent target would be made more difficult, among other things, because the defense technology industry in this country could not deliver enough. When questioned about this aspect by the British Defense Attaché, the Minister replied that she had no intention of pursuing industry bashing.

Chancellor Scholz had introduced the term “turning point” into the security policy discourse in Germany in his speech on February 27 in the Bundestag against the background of the Russian invasion of Ukraine three days earlier.

Gerd Portugall