Any relativization of NATO's guarantee of assistance would be “irresponsible and dangerous,” Scholz told a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. However, Tusk said Trump's comments should act “like a cold shower” and encourage Europe's states to invest more in their own defense.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has strongly rejected claims by former US President Donald Trump that he is unwilling to defend renegade NATO allies if re-elected. “Any comparison of NATO's guarantee of assistance is irresponsible and dangerous,” Scholz said at a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Berlin on Monday evening.
Tusk said Trump's comments should act “like a cold shower” and encourage Europe's states to invest more in their own defense. Schales criticized statements like those made by Trump as “only in Russia's interest.” The German chancellor reiterated that NATO's defense promise is “unrestricted: one for all, one for all.” Addressing the head of the Polish government, Scholz emphasized: “Poland's security is our security, and we feel responsible for it.”
Scholz confirms the cost of protection
In this context, Scholz confirmed that Germany will spend two percent of its economic output on defense this year – and will do so “for all time”. The relevant decisions were taken after his “breakthrough” speech on February 27, 2022.
Trump, the most promising candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, announced an unspecified meeting with the head of a NATO country at a rally in the US state of South Carolina on Saturday. “A president of a great country stood up and said, 'Well, sir, if we don't pay up and are attacked by Russia, will you protect us?'
“You didn't pay, are you guilty?” Trump said. Then he will not protect the country. Trump said he would encourage Russia to “do whatever they want”.
Polish President Tusk said during his visit to Berlin, “I am sure that these words of Donald Trump should act as cold rain for all of us.” Europe should “expect full cooperation with the United States” on defense policy, but also invest in its own defense.
Tusk said the EU's economic output and population were significantly higher than Russia's – adding: “So we don't have to be militarily weak.” In this context, Tusk said he considered French President Emmanuel Macron's words about Europeanization. French nuclear weapons are “critical” to nuclear deterrence. Such signals from European partners should be taken “really seriously”.
Tusk also said in Berlin that Poland's new government wants to start negotiations with Berlin on reparations for World War II damages. In a formal and legal sense, the question of reparations has been closed for years, the head of the Polish government said after the meeting with Scholes.
A few hours earlier, Tusk met Macron in person in Paris. Macron has pushed to expand the European arms industry. He also announced a new Franco-Polish treaty, which included closer cooperation on nuclear development.
Foreign ministers are taking action against Russian cyber attacks
Parallel to the meeting between Tusk and Scholz, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland met in La Celle-Saint-Cloud near Paris. Chief diplomats announced plans to work together against Russian cyberattacks and propaganda.
French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné announced a new “alert mechanism” for France, Germany and Poland. Its aim is to uncover such disruptive efforts and make them public. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach later said: “Together we will not allow people's confidence to be undermined from outside.”
The meeting took place within the framework of the so-called Weimar Triangle of three states. The format, which has existed since 1991, unites the three most populous and militarily powerful EU members. According to diplomatic sources, the format should be updated as the change of government in Warsaw should facilitate cooperation. Former EU Council President Tusk replaced Mateusz Morawiecki from the right-wing nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party late last year. (APA/AFP)