German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has harshly rejected former US President Donald Trump’s comments that he does not want to defend defaulting NATO allies in the event of re-election. “The relativization of NATO’s aid guarantee 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 European states to invest more in their own security. Scholz criticized that statements like those made by Trump “are solely in Russia’s interest.” The German Chancellor reiterated that NATO’s promise of protection applies “without limits: all for one, one for all”. Addressing the Polish head of government, Scholz emphasized: “Poland’s security is also our security, and we feel responsible for that.”
In this context, Scholz confirmed that Germany will spend two percent of its economic output on defense this year and will “always” do so. The relevant decisions were taken after the “landmark” speech on February 27, 2022.
Trump, currently the most promising candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, teased an unspecified meeting with the president of a NATO country at a rally in the US state of South Carolina on Saturday. “One of the presidents of a major country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, will you protect us if we don’t pay and we get attacked by Russia?’ said.”
“‘Didn’t you pay, didn’t you pay your debt?'” Trump said. I said.” said. In this case, he cannot protect the country. Trump even said he would encourage Russia to do “whatever it wants.”
Polish President Tusk said during his visit to Berlin that he was “convinced that these words of Donald Trump should have the effect of a cold shower for all of us.” Europe should “hope for full cooperation with the United States” in security policy, but it should also invest in its own security.
Tusk said the EU’s economic output and population were significantly greater than Russia’s, adding: “So we don’t need to be weaker militarily.” In this context, Tusk said that he found French President Emmanuel Macron’s words about the possibility of Europeanization of France’s nuclear weapons “very important” in terms of nuclear deterrence. Such signals from European partners “need to be taken really seriously”.
Tusk also said in Berlin that Poland’s new government wants to start negotiations with Berlin on compensation for the damage suffered in the Second World War. After his meeting with Scholz, the Polish head of government said that the issue of compensation, officially and legally, has been closed for many years.
A few hours earlier, Tusk had met Macron personally in Paris. Macron insisted on the expansion of the European arms industry. He also announced a new Franco-Polish agreement that included, among other things, closer cooperation in the expansion of nuclear energy.
In parallel with the meeting between Tusk and Scholz, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland met in La Celle-Saint-Cloud near Paris. The chief diplomats later announced plans to work together against Russian cyberattacks and propaganda.
French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné announced a new “warning mechanism” for France, Germany and Poland. The aim is to reveal and publicize such destabilization attempts. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock later said: “Together we will not allow people’s trust to be shaken from the outside.”
The meeting took place within the framework of the so-called Weimar Triangle, to which all three states belong. The format, which has existed since 1991, brings together the three most populous and militarily powerful members of the EU. According to information received from diplomatic circles, the format is expected to be revived as the change of government in Warsaw will facilitate cooperation. Former EU Council President Tusk became prime minister at the end of last year, replacing Mateusz Morawiecki from the right-wing nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party.