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Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz during the recording of the New Year's address at the Chancellery

Photo: Markus Schreiber / dpa

In this year's New Year's address, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz is optimistic that Germany is up to the challenges of this time. "We can also cope with headwinds," said the SPD politician in his New Year's address. "That doesn't make the challenges of our time any smaller."

According to Scholz, everyone in this country is needed – "the top researcher as well as the geriatric nurse, the policewoman as well as the parcel carrier, the pensioner as well as the young trainee," said Scholz. If we treat each other with this respect, then we don't have to be afraid of the future."

However, Scholz also spoke of understanding for the concerns of citizens. "As soon as Corona was halfway over, Russia unleashed a relentless war in the middle of Europe," he said. Shortly thereafter, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned off the gas tap, and in the fall there was Hamas' brutal terror attack on Israel. "Our world has become more restless and harsh. It's changing at an almost breathtaking rate."

Investments in roads and railways

That is why Germany must also change. "For some, it's also causing dissatisfaction. I take it to heart," he said. And at the same time, I know that we in Germany can get through it."

Scholz announced his intention to invest heavily in the future. "Anyone who travels by train or is stuck in a traffic jam in front of a dilapidated bridge these days will notice that our country has been driven to wear and tear for too long. That's why we're investing now: in proper roads and a better railway."

However, all this has not become easier against the background of the far-reaching ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in mid-November. "We won't be able to implement all of the projects we had in mind."

In mid-November, the Federal Constitutional Court declared the reallocation of 60 billion euros in the 2021 budget null and void. The money had been approved as a Corona loan, but was to be used retrospectively for climate protection and the modernization of the economy. At the same time, the judges ruled that the state should not set aside emergency loans for later years.

The Chancellor was also critical of the policy of the year that is coming to an end. "Discussions about the right path are part of it. The struggle for fair compromises as well – even if I could have done without some of the loud debates in recent weeks and months.«

With regard to the current floods in parts of Germany, the Chancellor thanked "all the men and women from the fire brigade and the Bundeswehr, from THW, the rescue services and the many volunteers who are fighting with all their might against the floods". He also expressed his sympathy for those affected, "whom we will not leave alone in these difficult hours".

The Chancellor's speech was recorded, and the text was circulated on Saturday. Public broadcasters will broadcast the New Year's speech on Sunday at 20:10 p.m.