Two prominent new members of the SPD parliamentary group are to take on important tasks in the field of foreign policy. Michael Müller, the former Governing Mayor of Berlin for many years, is expected to become chairman of the Bundestag’s Commission of Inquiry into the Afghanistan mission. Ralf Stegner, long deputy SPD federal chairman and state and parliamentary group leader in Schleswig-Holstein, is scheduled to chair the committee of inquiry into the end of the Bundeswehr mission. This was confirmed to the Tagesspiegel from the SPD parliamentary group. The nomination by the parliamentary group is scheduled for next Tuesday.
Both SPD politicians have been members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag since it was constituted. The Commission of Inquiry and the Committee of Inquiry are to be decided by the Bundestag before the summer break.
Both had recently acted as admonishers in the debate about the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine and had warned against neglecting opportunities for a diplomatic end to the war. Large parts of the Union and the Greens see this attitude as a dangerous underestimation of Putin’s military determination, which can only be stopped by resistance and counter-violence.
Stegner, a spokesman for the left wing in the SPD, has been a passionate polarizer in the political debate for years and is therefore likely to face the challenge of having a balancing effect on the leadership of the U-committee on the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Afghanistan and also the interests of the opposition to consider.
It is also interesting that the then Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, a social democrat, was largely responsible for assessing the situation there and making the decision to evacuate his own staff and local staff. At the time, Maas had offered Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz his resignation. He was not considered when the new government was formed and is now a simple MP. The Greens, the opposition party at the time, had accused Maas of failure, mainly because of the slow evacuation of local forces, and called for his resignation.
It is expressly the task of the committee to clarify responsibilities for the decisions made at the time and for the wrong decisions. The committee should make a “contribution to a thorough clarification of the circumstances, the genesis and the course of the military evacuation operation and the handling of the Afghan local forces by German authorities (…)” and draw conclusions for the future. The commission of inquiry “Lessons from Afghanistan for Germany’s future networked engagement”, which will be headed by Müller in the future, will primarily focus on improving German foreign and security policy.
The traffic light factions SPD, Greens and FDP were not the only ones who agreed on the commission of inquiry and the U-Committee. The Union also negotiated and agreed. “It is a strong sign that we, as a coalition, have reached a broad consensus with the opposition,” said parliamentary group deputies Gabriela Heinrich (SPD), Johann Wadephul (CDU), Agnieszka Brugger (Greens) and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP). recently. After 20 years, it is important that the overall use is evaluated with scientific expertise. The findings from the commission of inquiry must be “processed in a practical and future-oriented manner so that we can draw lessons for the design of future German missions abroad”.