German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday that German arms manufacturers can count on his government to increase military spending.
Olaf Scholz also stated that he will reach NATO’s target of 2% of GDP, at the same time calling on the EU states to move towards the mass production of military material, through joint and long-term orders, Reuters and AFP report.
Scholz made the remarks after former US President Donald Trump sparked outrage among US allies by suggesting that the United States may fail to protect NATO allies that do not allocate sufficient funds to defend against a potential Russian invasion.
During his tenure, Trump has publicly criticized states that do not meet the NATO target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense.
Chancellor Scholz said on Monday that the defense industry in the EU and Germany must switch to mass production of weapons as the war in Ukraine has revealed that European manufacturers have had great difficulty meeting demand for munitions.
“We have to move from the manufacturing industry to the large-scale production of defense equipment,” said Scholz, inaugurating the construction site of the future armaments factory of the Rheinmetall concern, in Unterlüss, where the most important German military industrial complex is located.
“Not only the United States, but all European countries must do even more to support Ukraine. The commitments made so far are not enough. Germany’s power alone is not enough,” he said.
According to the chancellor, the German army and defense industry can now count on Berlin’s commitment to meet the NATO target of 2% of GDP.
“This is an urgent need. Because, however harsh, this is the reality: we don’t live in times of peace,” Scholz said.
He emphasized that this is a ‘signal’ addressed to the Europeans to substantially increase their defense industry base.
According to the chancellor, the war in Ukraine and the “imperial ambitions” of Russian President Vladimir Putin represent a “major threat”, and “those who want peace must succeed in deterring possible aggressors”.
Despite billions of euros worth of weapons sent to Ukraine by EU states since the start of the Russian invasion, they are still far from reaching a sufficient capacity to sustainably support Kiev and replenish its own stockpiles.
“A strong defense requires a strong industrial base. It will see the light of day if we, the Europeans, will put together our orders, if we will pool our means and thus give the industry perspectives for the next 10, 20 or 30 years”, he emphasized.
Scholz admitted that, in this regard, Germany had long been a bad example, as armaments policy ‘was conducted like buying a car’, without the long-term planning that industries need of defense to invest in additional capabilities.
“If I want to buy a VW Golf (car) in two or three years, then I know today: it will exist. I may have to wait three or six months for it, but then the car will be in the yard,” he said.
“But the production of armaments does not work like that. Tanks, howitzers, helicopters and anti-aircraft systems are not on a shelf somewhere,” explained Scholz.
Rheinmetall’s new facility is to produce 155 mm artillery ammunition starting in 2025, gradually increasing to a capacity of 200,000 shells per year.
The concern stated that it intends to invest 300 million euros and create around 500 jobs.
Rheinmetall aims to produce, across its factories in Europe, up to 700,000 artillery shells in 2025, compared to 400-500,000 this year and 70,000 before the war in Ukraine.
Tags: NATO, Europe, Olaf Scholz, armament,
Publication date: 12-02-2024 18:37
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