Foreign policy keynote address: Laschet wants Europe’s “global political capability”

Foreign policy keynote address
Laschet wants Europe’s “global political capability”

CDU leader Laschet is pushing the government. In Berlin he outlines his security and foreign policy ideas. He advocates a much more sovereign Europe. Few states should go ahead to do this. In addition, it is committed to NATO and the two percent target.

CDU boss Armin Laschet presented his basic foreign policy ideas in a keynote speech, which he wants to implement in a future federal government. His own foreign policy ideas are shaped by a “commitment to multilateralism and strong international organizations,” he said in his speech at the party-affiliated Adenauer Foundation. “The ‘my country first’ approach is wrong when it comes to international challenges.”

The Federal Republic must become more strategic and forward-looking in its foreign and security policy, demanded the candidate for chancellor. To this end, he suggested the establishment of a National Security Council based in the Chancellery. The council’s expertise could also be used in pandemic cases, for example. The existing Federal Security Council must be further developed accordingly.

Laschet also called for a “foreign policy core Europe” from EU members who want to form the core of a common European foreign policy on a voluntary basis. This core Europe could, for example, deal with arms and military policy issues. This group could build on the cooperation between Germany and France agreed in the Aachen Treaty. In this context, Laschet spoke of a “global political capability” that Europe must acquire.

Laschet criticized Russia. The “irregular shifting of borders” was “unacceptable,” he said with a view to the annexation of Crimea. That is why the EU’s sanctions against Russia are “justified”. He assured Israel that Germany would continue to support it: “We stand by Israel’s side without reservation,” said Laschet. He also made a commitment to the transatlantic partnership with the USA.

In his remarks, Laschet also made a clear commitment to NATO and the two percent target for defense spending – and demanded the same from other candidates for chancellor. Such a commitment is “to be expected from everyone who strives for the highest offices in Germany,” he said. Citizens have the “right” to know where the candidates for chancellor are in foreign and security policy.

With the goal of putting two percent of economic output in the defense sector, NATO wants to remain “capable of acting and defending,” said Laschet. “Anyone who remains silent on this or submits nebulous theses about a reorientation of NATO or the like instead of this clear commitment to alliance obligations is not fulfilling the tasks that are set for a Federal Chancellor,” said the CDU chief.

The top candidate for the Green Party, Annalena Baerbock, recently described the coupling of arms spending to gross domestic product as “absurd”. She received applause from the SPD for this. In 2014, following the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea by Russia, the NATO allies agreed to increase their defense spending to two percent of economic output within a decade. Germany is well below this mark.