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8 Jan, 2024 16:16

Germany calls on rest of EU to do more for Ukraine

Berlin will not increase its support for Kiev only for other members to do less, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has said
Germany calls on rest of EU to do more for Ukraine

EU member states should contribute more to the bloc’s assistance to Ukraine, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has said. Berlin cannot bear the bulk of the burden alone, he told his Free Democratic Party’s (FDP) annual gathering in Stuttgart.

Germany has emerged as the second-biggest single aid donor to Kiev over the course of its conflict with Russia. According to the Kiel Institute for World Economy (IfW), the nation has provided almost $23 billion in bilateral assistance to Ukraine, if the cost of providing for refugees is included. The US is the only nation that has spent more on aid for Kiev.

Linder told the congress last Saturday that Moscow poses a danger to all of Europe, accusing it of not only seeking to “subjugate Ukraine” but also to “destroy” the Western way of life by challenging “the actual or alleged dominance of the liberal West.” He added that the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a “threat that is faced by Europe as a whole.”

Under such circumstances, “others” in the EU should also “participate in the endeavor,” the minister argued, claiming the fact that Germany does more for the country does not mean “strong European nations... have fewer commitments.” The EU should demonstrate that it is a “community of values that stands together in these times,” Lindner said.

The finance minister also declared that “50% of all European support for Ukraine is provided by taxpayers from Germany.” According to IfW, the EU’s total support for Ukraine amounted to almost $146 billion, including funds allocated by the bloc’s institutions and individual contributions by member states. The EU institutions alone pledged more than $84 billion in budget support for Kiev and has disbursed almost $26 billion out of this sum, the IfW's data shows.

“If more is needed, Germany should not have to do it alone,” Lindner said. Berlin had already allocated $8.76 billion from its 2024 budget to fund the Ukrainian military and support refugees, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised in December that additional support would be forthcoming, “just as we planned, and, above all, for as long as necessary.”

The head of the German Council of Economic Experts (GCEE), Monika Schnitzer, also suggested a tax increase last month to finance additional military aid to Kiev.

On Saturday, Lindner blasted fellow Germans who were willing to supposedly “sacrifice Ukraine’s freedom” for short-term economic benefits. The minister claimed that people who would be willing to “make concessions” to Moscow and “negotiate over Ukraine’s head,” would not be prepared to defend their own freedom in the event of an emergency.

Germany, which relied on Russia for 40% of its gas before 2022, was among the hardest hit by the curtailment of Russian energy supplies last year. Deliveries were significantly reduced after the EU imposed sanctions on Moscow in response to the Ukraine conflict, and were entirely halted when the Nord Stream pipelines delivering Russian gas to Germany were rendered unusable following a series of explosions in autumn 2022.

The nation’s continued military support for Ukraine has also started to draw criticism. In November 2023, German MP Dr Johann Wadephul warned that the nation’s own military might end up at a loss if Berlin continued to funnel resources to meet Kiev’s needs. Some key units of the German Armed forces might only last several days in battle since the much-needed equipment replacements destined for the German army often end up in Ukraine instead.