Sedan the S.P.D. he wants to realign his foreign policy. A core aspect: Germany should take on more responsibilities in the future within Europe, but also internationally. This claim to leadership is justified by the fact that the Federal Republic has “developed a high degree of trust” in recent decades.

In many foreign policy debates, Germany is increasingly taking center stage and is an important partner for many countries around the world, according to a strategy document from the S.P.D.tip that is available for the Handelsblatt. “And that is exactly why they expect Germany to show more initiative and take a leading role internationally.”

The 21-page document was produced by the party’s “Commission on International Policy” (KIP) and, as the headline says, is intended to provide “social democratic responses to a world in transition.” The commission is headed by party leader Lars Klingbeil. The SPD presidium wants to discuss the new foreign policy strategy on Monday. The document will be decided at a party conference at the end of the year.

According to the SPD, Germany should also show more strength in Europe in the future. “Not least because of its size and economic strength, our European partners expect Germany to rise to its responsibility and play a leading role,” the document says. This means involving the partners, giving impulses, giving orientation and at the same time relying on the mediation and balance of interests.

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The authors of the policy document also derive the greatest responsibility from Germany for the change in the foreign policy situation caused by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which the document describes as “the hitherto most brutal violation of the fundamental principles of international order.” international”.

SPD promises to meet the two percent target NATO

The SPD spares no self-criticism. Germany, in particular, “for too long has been waiting exclusively for a cooperative future Russia and failed to develop scenarios for dealing with Russia differently,” the document says. “This would have been urgently needed after the Russian invasion of Georgia, but no later than after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.”

>> Read also: “Useless” and “disappointing”: Frustration with Germany’s no to tanks

Due to the special German-Russian history, too much emphasis was also placed on what unites them, which “blurs the vision of what divides them”. Furthermore, Germany has not sufficiently reacted to Russia’s increasingly aggressive behavior in foreign policy. Instead, Germany has become unilaterally dependent on Russia in terms of energy policy.

As a consequence of the mistakes in dealing with Russia, SPD experts propose a forward-looking foreign and security policy with “scenario thinking”. “We have to recognize trends early on and show possible options for action accordingly.” pay more attention to the military capabilities of security and defense alliances.

For the SPD, this also means that the armed forces it must be equipped in such a way that it can carry out its tasks in interaction with the EU and NATO it can be fulfilled “at any time in its entirety”. The party sees the special 100 billion euro fund for troops as a clear message to the alliance partners that Germany is ready to “take more responsibility for the implementation of our common interests in the sense of an order of values-based peace.

F-35 fighter jets

American-produced aircraft are among the largest acquisition projects for the Bundeswehr.


(Photo: dpa)

The SPD combines this with a promise to invest two percent of German economic output in defense in the future. However, the party also sees the need to act at the European level, because the aspirations and reality of a defensible EU are still a long way off. In particular, the tenure of former US President Donald Trump has clearly shown that Europe must position itself more sovereignly and invest more in its own security.

Social Democrats want common European armament

In concrete terms, the SPD wants to strengthen the European pillar in NATO and expand the EU’s military capabilities and capabilities. The prerequisite, however, is that the European Union “Overcomes inefficient and ineffective fragmentation in its defense policy.” It has been “long obsolete” that the 27 EU member states have their own procurement system, own a large number of different weapons systems, supply orders to their own armaments companies and negotiate with them on weapons of the future.

>> Also read our commentary: Chancellor’s hesitation plays into Putin’s hands

Rather, what is needed are common European defense efforts and more cooperation on production and procurement. Foreign policy experts consider the German government’s initiative to establish a European anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system to be a pioneer in this regard.

The so-called European Sky Shield Initiative, launched last year, aims to help close existing gaps in the current protective shield for Europe. The reason for this is the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. According to NATO, Russia’s actions require additional air defense efforts. Until now, missile defense in Europe has been primarily directed at possible threats from Iran.

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In addition, SPD experts consider it necessary for Europe to be able to conventionally defend against attacks, including those of a hybrid nature, below the threshold of an armed attack, and to have adequate deterrence capabilities. In addition to joint procurement, common minimum standards for arms export controls, coordinated defense spending, a rapid reaction force and “a real EU headquarters for a clear management structure” are also needed.

“Decoupling”: SPD rejects a total solution from China

German relations with China also play a decisive role in the realignment of the SPD’s foreign policy. A “decoupling”, that is, a complete solution by China, is not the correct answer, according to the foreign policy document of the party leadership. “Instead, we need a European resilience strategy that reduces risks (risk removal), also with a view to protecting critical infrastructure in Europe.”

Economic dependencies on China must be minimized, “for example in the procurement of raw materials according to the ‘China plus one’ principle, where we always have an alternative supplier other than China,” he says. German companies should receive incentives to expand their value chains and sales markets to other countries. According to the German supply chain law, it must also be prohibited at European level that products resulting from forced labor can be imported.

Therefore, the party leadership’s view of China is much more critical than it used to be. Beijing is fighting for economic and military dominance in the Indo-Pacific region and wants to reshape the international system in China’s favor. “Dialogue with China must be pursued and carried out in a robust and constructively critical manner,” the document therefore demands.

Human rights violations and protectionism must be addressed. Although the one-China policy is upheld, Beijing must be made aware that the Taiwan issue can only be resolved through peaceful means. The democratic island of Taiwan is viewed by China as a breakaway province.

At the same time, a common European policy towards China is called for. “Europe must not allow itself to be divided by Beijing, but must use its geopolitical power and speak with one voice for Europe’s interests and values.”

More: Current developments in the Ukrainian war on the Newsblog

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