Chancellor Olaf Scholz has declined to comment on the delivery of German-made Leopard 2 tanks for which his country needs to give the green light, despite mounting pressure from within his own governing coalition as well as from international partners.
Scholz has been in the crossfire for his refusal to allow the delivery for months. Critical voices are growing, both within his coalition and among international partners, who criticised Germany for still being hesitant during the EU foreign affairs council on Monday.
“The biggest favour we can do to Vladimir Putin is that in the Western alliance, in German politics, we are just dividing ourselves apart,” SPD party chief Lars Klingbeil told a press conference on Monday, defending Scholz’s hesitant stance.
“We are careful not to become a war party ourselves,” he said, noting his “100%” support for Scholz. It takes time to take a decision of such “historic proportions”, he added.
Mounting criticism has also come from within Germany’s governing coalition.
Scholz’s communication on the matter has been nothing short of a “catastrophe”, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, member of the governing FDP and chairwoman of the Bundestag’s defence committee, said on Saturday.
“History is looking at us and Germany has unfortunately just failed,” she added.
Criticism also came from the Greens, Scholz’s other coalition partner.
Germany would “stand in the way” of delivering tanks, Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on French television, but later pack-pedalled during the EU foreign affairs council Monday, and refrained from reiterating her commitment.
Klingbeil directly attacked these critics within the German government coalition.
“I know what I would do as party leader if such cross shots were constantly coming from my party,” Klingbeil said in Berlin. “It doesn’t reflect well on one’s own party leadership if there are always people like that,” he added.
(Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)