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“Clear moral compass”

Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock outlines the basic principles of a comprehensive “National Security Strategy” for Germany.

Annalena Baerbock presents the basic outlines of a security strategy
Annalena Baerbock presents the basic outlines of a security strategy © picture alliance/Flashpic

The German government intends to develop a comprehensive “National Security Strategy”. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock described a “clear stance, a stronger ability to act and sharper tools for foreign and security policy” as decisive for this. In view of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine, she emphasised Germany's international responsibility at a launch event for the development of this security strategy.

The governing partners of the SPD, Greens and FDP had already stated the following in their coalition agreement at the end of 2021: “We will present a comprehensive National Security Strategy in the first year of the new federal government.” At the time, few people could presumably have imagined the situation that is unfolding now, Foreign Minister Baerbock said, referring to the war in Ukraine. She added that people in Germany now also have a yearning for security that they have not felt for a long time.

“When it comes to questions of war and peace, no country can be neutral.”

The minister made the case for a “comprehensive understanding of security”. “Security policy is more than just the military plus diplomacy,” Baerbock said. She described a clear stance as being one basis for this approach to security: “When it comes to questions of war and peace, of right and wrong, no country, not even Germany, can be neutral.” The “German guilt for war and genocide” gives rise in her view to a “special responsibility”; she believes this is an obligation for the country “to stand by those whose lives, freedom and rights are threatened.”

In the minister’s view, the ability of Germany and its partners to act is also central. In this context, she particularly emphasised the unity within the European Union and Nato. In view of the war in Ukraine, she stressed that Nato's nuclear deterrent must remain “credible”. At the same time, however, Baerbock made one thing clear: “Our goal remains a world free of nuclear weapons”.

“External climate policy is an integral part of the security strategy”

The foreign minister described the climate crisis as the “security policy issue of our time”, explaining that external climate policy is therefore an integral part of the security strategy. Energy supply is also a security issue, she said, which is why expanding renewable energy is an investment in security and thus in freedom.

Baerbock announced that the government would be taking a “prudent and pragmatic” approach in its work on the National Security Strategy, but that it would be holding a “clear moral compass in its hand”. As far as the comprehensive strategy to be developed is concerned, she emphasised: “Our responses must be just as complex as the crises are.”