Germany told it is not doing enough to defend Europe’s eastern border in swipe at Scholz

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul3,2024

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called on Germany to increase its efforts in defending Europe’s eastern frontier, taking aim at Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s policies. During a meeting on Tuesday, Tusk stressed that Germany needs to play a more prominent role in securing the EU’s eastern border.

At a press conference following the first joint Polish-German government meeting since 2018, Tusk expressed frustration with Germany’s stance on defence spending and coordination within Europe. Despite attempts to showcase enhanced cooperation, the discussion turned tense over defence issues.

“Europe is dramatically disoriented,” Tusk said. “There is a lack of cooperation.” He voiced his irritation at Germany’s refusal to consider defence bonds and the fragmented nature of military initiatives across Europe.

Poland, which plans to spend 4.12 percent of its GDP on defence in 2024, surpassing NATO’s 2 percent target, is pushing for better coordination of defence efforts. Tusk proposed initiatives like joint EU debt for military investments, but Germany opposed this at a recent EU summit.

“Germany should not finance our tanks. We’ll do it ourselves,” Tusk said. “We want everyone, including our German partners, to see that the security of the continent should be a collective effort, not a competitive one.”

Scholz has advocated for broader participation in Germany’s Sky Shield initiative, aimed at joint air defence procurement. While Poland has expressed willingness to join, Tusk seeks more comprehensive EU support for defence along Poland and the Baltic region’s borders with Belarus and Russia.

“We need Europe to coordinate between competing national initiatives,” Tusk stated.

During the meeting, Tusk emphasised the importance of Germany’s involvement in protecting Europe’s eastern border. He stated, “Germany must be a leading country in reference to European and Polish security.” Scholz acknowledged Germany’s responsibility, stating that the country is ready to support the protection of the EU’s eastern borders along with other member states.

Tusk highlighted a joint project with the Baltic states called Shield East, which aims to fortify the border with Belarus and Russia. He stressed that effective border protection is crucial for the safety of Germany, Poland, and Europe.

The discussions at the recent EU summit revealed disagreements over the funding of defence projects. While Poland and the Baltic states advocate for a defence line along the EU’s eastern border, Germany and other countries are hesitant about using Eurobonds for such initiatives. Scholz reiterated Germany’s position against common EU defence financing, emphasising that defence remains a national responsibility under EU treaties.

Despite these disagreements, Tusk emphasised that Poland is not seeking financial aid but rather better coordination. He noted that Poland spends 4 percent of its GDP on defence, the highest in NATO.

“We ask for nothing,” Tusk said. “It is not my dream to see German tanks in Polish streets, for various historical reasons.” Instead, he called for improved cooperation among EU member states to avoid fragmented defence efforts.

Scholz agreed on the need for better coordination within NATO and the EU. He pointed to the German-led European Sky Shield Initiative as a model for joint procurement of air defence systems. Both leaders acknowledged the importance of strengthening European defence capabilities in a rapidly changing global landscape.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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