Scholz’s campaign for becoming a chancellor did not include a significant change in security and defence policy, it rather offered a continuation of Merkel’s policy. However, new reality – invasion of Ukraine and pressure of Germany’s allies – forced him for an alteration. He adopted new policy on security and defence in late February and delivered it in his Zeitenwende speech. Since then, his government has not moved much forward with the plan.
As an immediate answer to the aggression in the east Europe, Scholz stoped the certification of the gas pipeline. According to new plan, the government would invest in renewable energy more and faster and urgently build up coal and gas reserves in order to end the German dependency on Russian fossil fuels. However, the project has not been implemented and Germany still remains at the mercy of Gazprom, Russian government-owned gas supplier.
As part of his Zeitenwende announcements, Scholz proposed a €100 billion special fund to close the critical gaps in military capability that had emerged and widened in the preceding decades. He also pledged to meet the 2 per cent NATO target “year after year” from then on. However, it quickly became clear that the government would not use the special fund to supplement the 2 per cent goal. Instead, the government would use it to meet the NATO target in the coming years. And the government had already shifted part of the existing costs for ongoing defence projects to the special fund. Accordingly, if inflation remains at 7.5 per cent, the special fund will only buy military equipment worth an estimated €60 billion.
Often found itself in controversial situations, such as the proposal of tank exchanges with Poland or pursuing publicly presented plan, German government should act accordingly to meet the expectations.