« German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Hamburg on Monday to participate in ‘Kanzlergesprach’ (Chancellor Talks), an unscripted event where he took a number of questions from citizens on key policy areas.
Scholz spoke to 170 people for an hour and a half, addressing topics including irregular migration and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
On the latter issue, Scholz claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin is experiencing a ‘Yalta moment’ and would like to calve Europe up with a ‘big felt-tip pen’.
“That’s how he imagines the world. But I can say explicitly that it can’t be right for a big powerful neighbour to say, I need a bit of your territory,” the German chancellor said.
“He is not interested in the fact that so much has been destroyed, that there are mines everywhere, that so many people have died, that factories have been destroyed, that the economy has been destroyed because somehow it should be written in a history book: he has made the country bigger,” he continued.
Scholz also stressed that despite being the leading supplier of aid to Ukraine in Europe, every decision the federal government makes ‘has been weighed’ to prevent the conflict from escalating.
« We support Ukraine. We now do it second most, after the USA, but we have always been careful, no matter how hectic it has been and how loudly it has been discussed, that every single decision has been weighed in such a way that it does not lead to an escalation of the war, to a war between Russia and NATO, and that is leadership as well, » he said.
On asylum, the chancellor asserted that migrants fleeing disasters such as conflict or humanitarian crises should be granted protection, but argued that more needs to be done on both the national and EU level to place stricter controls on irregular migration.
“If a country is humane and receives someone who is persecuted or who runs away in war, for example, they must be given protection. At the same time, it must be clear that those who invoke such reasons but are not proven to be justified in doing so, must also leave,” Scholz explained.
“We will make sure that a common approach is chosen in Europe. But that is not the case at the moment. Most of those who arrive in Germany, and I say need protection from persecution, have already been to other European countries and have not been registered there,” he added. »