ARD Talk: Steinbrück near "Maischberger": "We were criminally naive"

Ex-Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück was harsh on “Maischberger” on Wednesday with the Russia policy of recent years.

Shortly before the summit meetings of the EU, G7 and NATO, Germany is arguing about arms deliveries, energy embargoes against Russia and inflation. With the arrival of German self-propelled howitzers in the Ukraine and the published list of German arms deliveries, the federal government seems to agree with the “turning point” now wanting to be fair.

Whether and how Germany can lead Europe through the numerous crises is what the talkers argued about on Wednesday in Sandra Maischberger’s studio. The former SPD chancellor candidate expressed a clear opinion on the question of German leadership and possible Ukrainian EU accession Peer Steinbruck. He also explained the consequences to be feared from the inflation crisis.

Ukraine crisis – all the news about the conflict

“Maischberger” – These were the guests:

  • Peer Steinbruck, former finance minister (SPD)
  • Barbara Schoeneberger, Presenter of “Do you understand fun?”
  • Ulrich Wickert, longtime daily news moderator
  • Ulrike Herrmann, “taz” journalist
  • Michael Broecker, Editor-in-Chief of “The Pioneer”

Steinbrück calls for “Maischberger” to have greater “deterrence potential”

The former SPD politician did not leave a good hair over his years of dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he branded a “liar and cheater.” While the beginning of Putin’s term of office at the beginning of the millennium still raised hopes in Europe, the West was in a state of mind after the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 at the latest “political coma fallen”. Now it is up to the EU to “significantly increase the deterrence potential”.

To do this, however, one had to “recognize that the Bundeswehr is not the technical relief agency”. Especially in view of the turn of US policy towards Asia, the war in Ukraine requires more independent action in Europe.

Steinbrück skeptical about EU candidate status for Ukraine

In the medium term would have to again conversation channels be set up to the Kremlin, Steinbrück demanded. The representatives of the West should have “a big cudgel under the table” ready. Steinbrück was certain who the future negotiating partner on the Russian side would be: “Putin will not be ousted. Putin will remain a constant.”

On the other hand, he expressed skepticism about the soon to be new status of Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership. That is born of empathy concessions by the EU, he sees Ukraine as “riddled with oligarchs, highly corrupt” and beaten with “a clearly politically shaped judiciary”. In short: “Ukraine is quite a long way from joining the EU.”

Steinbrück: Leadership role of SPD “suppressed for decades”

The chancellor candidate from 2013 was also self-critical his party to the court: “We were blind, we were naive. Critically naive.” He welcomed the initiative by SPD chairman Lars Klingbeil to take the lead in Europe. “I believe that the SPD has suppressed this for decades.” However, he hoped that Chancellor Olaf Scholz would “better convey” the consequences of the turning point.

The consequences could also include a long-term unstable financial market belong. The inflation crisis did not surprise the former finance minister as the “risk hanging over us for two years”. Steinbrück explained that the European Central Bank (ECB) must turn things around by raising interest rates. The ECB faces a balancing act, as high interest rates could prove to be a “noose around the necks of poorer countries like Greece or Italy”. Also read: Inflation: Majority assumes longer restrictions

The US counterpart is combating inflation in a far more “aggressive or ambitious” way, making American government bonds far more attractive. “With that, the capital goes to the USA. That weakens the euro. That’s how they go import prices high. This will be the next pump for inflation,” Steinbrück painted a bleak picture. The federal government must therefore explain to the citizenry that “difficult and rough times are ahead of us.”

Wickert: “There are hundreds of martens in the backyards”

The question of European leadership had previously been the subject of heated debate. The Pioneer Editor-in-Chief Michael Broecker demanded as ex-daily topics spokesman Ulrich Wickert more conviction from the federal government. According to Bröcker, Eastern Europeans “long for leadership strength”. He therefore welcomed Scholz’s progress in the cause of EU accession. Nevertheless, it is “much more possible than Scholz allows.”

The same is now expected in terms of arms delivery. “You can deliver a lot more,” said Wickert, “there are hundreds of martens in the backyards of the German armaments industry.” Overall, Bröcker and Wickert rated the deliveries as too late and not extensive enough.

Taz editor Ulrike Herrmann disagreed with a view to the armored personnel carrier. The operation of the Marder requires proper training on the weapon. If these had been delivered much earlier, they would have ended up as “cannon fodder”. She warned against a German advance: “If something goes wrong, then Germany alone is to blame. That’s extremely dangerous.”

Ukraine war – background and explanations for the conflict

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