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Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) at the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels

Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has pledged that Germany will keep its commitments to NATO despite the current budget crisis. It is important that the member states of the alliance jointly invest in their security, Baerbock said before consultations of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. "This also means that Germany will meet its 2 percent commitment next year."

As early as 2006, the NATO countries had agreed to invest at least two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) in defense. This is intended to ensure the Alliance's military readiness in the long term. Shortly after Russia's attack on Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) reiterated that Germany also wanted to finally achieve the goal and proclaimed a "turning point" in defense policy. Germany, however, is still billions away from achieving this.

Baerbock also once again explicitly pledged support for Ukraine for further offensives against the Russian occupiers. Everything is being done to ensure that Ukraine can liberate as many villages and towns as possible next year. The country must be put in a position to enable the people in eastern Ukraine to live in peace and freedom. "As difficult, as strenuous as the situation seems, we will continue to support Ukraine – for as long as it needs us," said the Foreign Minister.

Sharp criticism of Turkey

Baerbock also voiced strong criticism of Turkey's delays in Sweden's admission to NATO. The fact that Sweden becomes a member of the joint alliance is "more than overdue," said the Green politician in Brussels in response to a question about Turkey's ratification of the so-called accession protocol, which has not yet taken place. This step must now come, she stressed. It is also a matter of strengthening NATO as a security alliance against the backdrop of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.

The meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday was supposed to celebrate Sweden's admission. However, Turkey has not yet completed the necessary ratification. Hungary has not yet done so either, but has recently repeatedly promised that it would not be the last NATO country to approve Sweden's accession.

Sweden had applied for NATO membership in May 2022 under the impression of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and originally hoped to be able to join as early as summer 2022. Turkey, however, then accused Swedish policy of a lack of commitment against "terrorist organizations such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)" and refused to give its consent. Following concessions by Sweden, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced that ratification by the Turkish parliament would be made possible. Now, however, she is stuck in a committee.