The Daily Telegraph

German army will be strongest in Europe, vows Scholz

- By Jorg Luyken

THE German army has spent too long drilling wells and stemming floods, Olaf Scholz said yesterday, as he promised to turn his military into “the best equipped” on the Continent.

Speaking at an army conference, the German chancellor admitted that his country had sustained an illusion that it was surrounded only by friends, with harmful results for its armed forces.

Mr Scholz, 64, said that “for a long time our country avoided a true prioritisa­tion of the tasks of its army”.

He said that, while the country was grateful to soldiers for drilling wells, stemming floods and helping with Covid vaccinatio­ns, “that is not their core mission”, which should be “to defend freedom in Europe”.

He said he aims to turn the German military into “the central pillar” of European convention­al defences.

Days after Russia invaded Ukraine last February, Mr Scholz announced a “new era” in German defence spending, pledging €100billion (£87billion) to modernise its forces. However, yesterday’s speech by Mr Scholz disappoint­ed those who had expected him to approve the supply of battle tanks to Kyiv.

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