Germany’s Scholz badgers EU countries to boost military aid for Ukraine

Berlin: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has urged other EU nations to deliver more military aid to Ukraine, saying Berlin has asked Brussels to check with countries on their planned support for Kyiv.

Speaking to reporters, Scholz warned that while his government is planning to double its military aid to Ukraine to €8 billion this year within a draft budget, “this alone will not be enough to guarantee Ukraine’s security in the long term.

“I therefore call on our allies in the European Union to also step up their efforts in support of Ukraine. The arms deliveries for Ukraine planned so far by the majority of EU member states are by all means too small,” he said. “We need higher contributions.”

The chancellor’s unusually frank remarks, delivered at a press conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Luc Frieden, reflect the growing frustration and concern among German officials that other EU countries appear to be delivering insufficient military resources to Ukraine, about to enter its third year of full-scale invasion by Russia.

Scholz said other EU countries are “perhaps” planning further weapons deliveries, “but we are not aware of them” — and that, accordingly, Berlin has asked the EU to verify with member scountries what support they are planning. “At the latest” by the next summit of EU leaders on February 1, Scholz added, “we need an overview as precise as possible of what concrete contribution our European partners will make to support Ukraine this year.”

The chancellor also expressed optimism that EU countries can overcome Hungary’s objections to a €50 billion EU aid package for Ukraine, which is slated to be adopted during the February summit.

“I am confident that we will manage to get a decision by all 27 member states,” Scholz said. “That is what we are working on very intensively and where we are putting a lot of effort into actually making this possible.”