It was actually supposed to be a liberation for Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) – but his appearance on the defense committee ended in a scandal. And it shows how fragile his traffic light coalition is.
When Scholz did not answer repeated questions about the status of arms deliveries to Ukraine and when the green light would also be given for Marder tanks and instead avoided doing so, the FDP members of the defense committee left the meeting room on Friday morning. This was confirmed to the daily mirror on site.
The trigger was a question from FDP politician Marcus Ferber. When answering, Scholz digressed and came to talk about China, the Global South and the looming food crisis.
“Today he had the opportunity to explain how the federal government would like to continue to support Ukraine,” said Faber afterwards. Unfortunately, he gave “hardly any answers” to the questions. The action was not planned, emphasized Faber.
In the FDP, however, there is great nervousness because a debacle is imminent in the state elections on Sunday in North Rhine-Westphalia. Polls put the liberals at 6 percent, which would halve the 2017 result and could lead to the loss of government participation in the home country of FDP leader Christian Lindner.
In the FDP it was said that one had to distinguish oneself more – therefore a defeat in North Rhine-Westphalia could also have a significant impact on the climate in the traffic light coalition brought the session to an end. She too had repeatedly criticized Scholz and accused him of acting too hesitantly.
Her demand that Scholz appoint a coordinator for difficult issues in the Chancellery went unheeded at the meeting, but she nevertheless thanked the Chancellor for the one-hour visit. Scholz announced that he would continue the exchange.
Scholz referred to the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr – who, however, does not conduct negotiations with industry, for example, about possible deliveries of weapons. And the Bundeswehr itself, as is well known, has hardly anything left to give.
Scholz once again made his principles clear internally, but also referred to the difficult negotiations with other states, for example about an exchange of rings, so that these states could give up their Soviet-designed tanks and receive Marder tanks from Germany in return.
He emphasized that he never said he did not want to supply heavy weapons. He kept a low profile for a trip to Kyiv.
“Unfortunately, this visit did not contribute to gaining knowledge,” said CDU defense politician Serap Güler to the Tagesspiegel. “Our questions about the exact status of the (already approved by the government) delivery of the Gepard tanks, whether that can be specified, were not answered with a word.”