In a new foreign policy blueprint released Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) called for a leadership role for Germany to ensure security in Europe.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin, SPD head Lars Klingbeil said Russia’s war on Ukraine has been a historic turning point for Germany and Europe.
“There is a strong expectation in the world and in Europe today that Germany should assume more responsibility,” he stressed.
“It is time to give up our decades-long policy of restraint to some extent, and more strongly assume a leadership role. Leadership is not about defying others. For us it means a cooperative approach, taking a stronger role in guiding the security and foreign policy agenda,” he said.
The Social Democrats’ new foreign policy document backs the governing coalition’s commitments to significantly boost the defense budget, modernize the German armed forces, and meet the NATO goal of spending 2% of the nation's gross domestic product on defense.
The 25-page document called the SPD’s long-held policy towards Russia a mistake, and ruled out normalization of ties with Moscow under current conditions.
“Sticking to the assumption that economic interdependencies will contribute to the democratization and stabilization of Russia in the long term was a mistake. This made Germany dependent on Russia for energy,” the document said.
“As long as the Putin regime pursues its imperialist goal of conquering and oppressing sovereign states, there can be no normalization of relations with Russia,” the Social Democrats said.
“In the long term, we share the goal of a common security order in Europe. That can only be possible if Russia again shows an interest in this and acknowledge the principles of a rules-based order.”
Klingbeil said the party’s new foreign policy document will be discussed in the coming months, and will provide the basis for decisions at a party conference later this year.
Source: Anadolu Agency