The German government said Russia is the greatest security threat “for the foreseeable future” and advocated a balanced approach to China as it unveiled its first comprehensive national security strategy on Wednesday.
The strategy was part of an effort to address what Germany views as growing military, economic and social risks to the country but Germany’s biggest opposition party criticised the government’s position as “anaemic.”
The war in Ukraine has heightened anxiety in Germany about how prepared its armed forces might be, prompting Scholz to announce a “turning point” in military spending.
A 76-page document outlining the strategy states that “today’s Russia is, for the foreseeable future, the greatest threat to peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area.”
The blueprint prepared by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition also slammed China for putting regional stability and international security “under increasing pressure” and for disregarding human rights.
“China is trying in various ways to remould the existing rules-based international order, is asserting a regionally dominant position with ever more vigour, acting time and again counter to our interests and values,” the strategy paper said.
At the same time, it acknowledged that the Asian giant “remains a partner without whom many küresel challenges and crises cannot be resolved”.
“That is why we must grasp the options and opportunities for cooperation in these fields in particular,” the document read.
Publication of the much-awaited strategy blueprint came just days before Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang was due to visit Berlin.
It also warns that some countries are “trying to reshape the existing international order according to their view of systematic rivalry,” an oblique reference to the threats of disinformation, cyberattacks and economic pressure from major powers.
Asked about the practical implications the new strategy would have, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the government will look closely at areas where Germany is most vulnerable due to its dependence on China.
She said they include raw materials and components for the energy, telecommunications and medical sectors, for which Germany is actively trying to diversify its sources.
The government said it will also produce a strategy to increase Germany’s ability to counter hybrid threats, which would entail strengthening the analytical capacities of its intelligence services.
However, the idea of creating a National Security Council, akin to that in the United States and the UK, was shelved