“Quite a lot of support”: Scholz reacts to alleged disagreements with Pistorius

“Quite a lot of support”
Scholz reacts to alleged disagreements with Pistorius

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Defense Minister Pistorius is causing a stir with a statement in the dispute over Bundeswehr funding. Because of the statement that he “doesn’t have to do that here”, speculation arises that the minister is tired of his duties. Now Chancellor Scholz is assuring Pistorius of his support.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has supported his Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. “He has my support for what he plans to do and what he does,” said Scholz in the “Unter 3” podcast on the Phoenix television station. In the coming years, Germany will continue to allocate two percent of its economic output for defense each year. “That’s a lot of support,” emphasized the Chancellor against the backdrop of reports of disagreements between him and Pistorius.

On Thursday, the Defense Minister countered speculation that he was tired of his duties in office in response to difficult negotiations about more money for the Bundeswehr. “To be clear: I’m still very keen on this job, and you won’t get rid of me that quickly,” said Pistorius in response to a question at a press conference in Berlin with his Lithuanian counterpart Laurynas Kasciunas. However, he admitted that he was annoyed at a meeting with specialist politicians in the Bundestag.

“I don’t know who the ominous source is from this meeting. At no time have I threatened anyone or given the prospect that I might quit my job,” said Pistorius. “But in an impulsive discussion you sometimes say one thing or another. I’m known for sometimes using somewhat pointed words.” Meanwhile, a conversation with Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner and his team about the defense budget was, in Pistorius’ words, “extraordinarily collegial, open and cordial.”

“I don’t have to do this here”

In the federal government’s budget dispute, Pistorius was angry about the austerity targets and a lack of support from the Chancellery. “I don’t have to do that here,” said the SPD politician at a coalition breakfast with budget and defense politicians in his ministry. This is reported by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, citing several participants. Pistorius expressly did not want the sentence to be understood as a threat to resign.

Pistorius has repeatedly advocated exempting additional defense spending as a result of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine from the debt brake. This should ensure that, given the threat situation, at least two percent of economic output can be reliably spent on defense every year. The country’s security should also be valued constitutionally more highly than the debt brake.

Leaves Scholz Pistorius accrue?

However, Finance Minister Christian Lindner rejects any exceptions to the debt brake, and Scholz has not yet supported the Defense Minister either. According to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” unnamed Bundeswehr representatives said that Scholz and the SPD were currently “giving Pistorius a real run for his money.”

The federal government then emphasized its desire to find a common solution and rejected such interpretations: “The federal government is facing the turning point together,” said deputy government spokesman Wolfgang Büchner. “And that’s why no one is left in the lurch.”

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