Scholz sharply criticizes Trump and reiterates NATO’s guarantee of support

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) sharply rejected former US President Donald Trump’s statements about not wanting to defend defaulting NATO allies in the event of re-election. “Any relativization of NATO’s guarantee of assistance is irresponsible and dangerous,” said Scholz on Monday evening at a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Berlin. Tusk said Trump’s comments should act “like a cold shower” and encourage Europe’s states to invest more in their own security.

Scholz criticized that statements like those made by Trump were “solely in Russia’s interest.” NATO’s promise of protection applies “unrestrictedly: all for one, one for all,” the Chancellor reiterated. 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 would spend two percent of its economic output on defense this year – and would do so “for all time.” The relevant decisions were made after his “turning point” speech on February 27, 2022.

Trump, currently the most promising candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, reported on Saturday at a rally in the US state of South Carolina about an unspecified meeting with the president of a NATO state. “One of the presidents of a major country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we get attacked by Russia, will you protect us?'”

“I said, ‘You haven’t paid, you’re delinquent?'” Trump reported. In that case he will not protect the country. Trump said he would even encourage Russia to do “whatever they want.”

Polish President Tusk said during his visit to Berlin that he was “convinced that these words from Donald Trump should act like a cold shower for all of us.” Europe must “hope for full cooperation with the USA” in security policy, but also invest in its own security.

Tusk said that the EU’s economic output and population were significantly larger than Russia’s – and added: “So we don’t have to be militarily weaker.” In this context, Tusk said he considers French President Emmanuel Macron’s words on the possible Europeanization of France’s nuclear weapons “very important” for nuclear deterrence. Such signals from European partners must be taken “really seriously”.

A few hours earlier, Tusk had met Macron personally in Paris. Macron insisted on expanding the European arms industry. He also announced a new Franco-Polish agreement, which includes, among other things, closer cooperation in the expansion of nuclear energy.

Parallel to 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 then announced plans to work together against Russian cyber attacks and propaganda.

France’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné announced a new “warning mechanism” for France, Germany and Poland. The aim is to uncover such attempts at destabilization and make them public. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said afterwards: “Together we will not allow people’s trust to be undermined from outside.”

The meeting took place within the framework of the so-called Weimar Triangle, to which the three states belong. The format, which has existed since 1991, brings together three of the most populous and militarily strongest EU members.

According to information from diplomatic circles, the format is to be revived because the change of government in Warsaw should simplify cooperation.

Former EU Council President Tusk replaced Mateusz Morawiecki from the right-wing nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party as Prime Minister at the end of last year.