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Thursday, May 26, 2022

It does not have to remain the “Scholzomat”.

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The Federal Chancellors were and are rare guests on German television talk shows. His performances always correlate with the favor of voters, and if this threatens to turn red or has been there for a long time, it’s time to visit a talk show. Unique guest, undivided attention, an hour to expose himself and his own politics in the best light possible.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) saw the time had come for a solo appearance in “Anne Will”. It was worth it; 4.58 million viewers tuned in, a solid share. Host Anne Will designed the 60 minutes less as a cross-examination than an interrogation, more as a tour d’horizon than an in-depth exploration of some themes.

And Olaf Scholz used this hour of television for himself. Characterized again and again as a “Scholzomat”, the SPD chancellor, despite all the focus on the politician, has shown the people behind the politician. From which Scholz’s appearance is remembered, in which the Hanseat showed facial expressions and, above all, gestures. The man lets his arms “express his opinion”, the man can accentuate, pronounce, promote his responses with his upper body. The image of the “political hedgehog” (“Spiegel”) was revised on Sunday night. incarnation? chancellor? The hour had something of all that.

Mix of sentiment and harsh statement.

Scholz mixed feelings with a harsh statement: how he looked at the faces of the young soldiers during his last visit to Moscow and thought about his possible death. And at the same time he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Don’t you dare!” was his message if the Kremlin ruler dared to attack a NATO state. Scholz left open how NATO would react to the use of biological or chemical weapons by the Russian military, but he did not want to leave any doubt that the alliance would rule: “We respond.”

At the same time, Scholz argued for a mix of admitting mistakes and a strong will to revise them. Keywords: energy policy, Germany’s dependence on Russian raw materials.

It will be “pretty quick” to remove this dependency. In the case of coal this year, it could also happen quickly with oil, but not so much with gas. Scholz again rejected an immediate boycott of imports. He warned: “This is an unbelievable amount of jobs.” On the contrary, if Russia stopped exporting, Germany would be ready. “But if these imports were to stop overnight, it would mean that entire branches of the industry would have to stop their activities.”

More about the Ukrainian war on Tagesspiegel Plus:

Moderator Will kept asking the question of all questions: Is Germany financing Putin’s war? The foreign minister denied this: “Russia currently cannot do anything with the money it has in its accounts due to our sanctions,” he said. Scholz also announced that NATO countries and Germany would be significantly upgraded to protect themselves against possible attacks from Russia. “We become so strong that no one dares to attack us.”

To finance the drastic increase in military spending and relieve households from the sharp rise in energy prices, the politician emphasized that his government will adhere to the debt brake: “It is in the Basic Law.” Scholz did not say how this should succeed with the upcoming new debt, nor did Anne Will ask. Working through the question catalog did not allow this. Too.

Olaf Scholz gained, the longer the show lasted, the more self-confidence, even a certain indifference. The last answers had crossed their legs. “One thing is clear: this is because of the crisis,” he said, referring to the current high level of indebtedness. “But there is also a time without crisis.”

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