“We do not live in times of peace”: German chancellor defends “large-scale” production of weapons in Europe

“We do not live in times of peace”: German chancellor defends “large-scale” production of weapons in Europe

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz this Monday called on European countries to turn to mass production of military equipment, favoring grouped and long-term orders, and warned of the lasting threat posed by Russia. The leader of the German Government was present today at the inauguration ceremony of a new factory for weapons manufacturer Rheinmetall, in the country’s largest defense industrial complex, in Untelüss, in northern Germany.

The new unit is expected to produce 155mm artillery ammunition from 2025, gradually aiming for a capacity of 200,000 projectiles per year. According to Scholz, this is a ‘call’ for Europeans to strengthen the continent’s defense industrial base.

“We must (…) turn to large-scale weapons production”, insisted Olaf Scholz, remembering that this is an “urgent need”. “As harsh as this reality is, we do not live in times of peace”, stressed the German Chancellor.

Russia’s war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s “imperial ambitions” pose “a great threat”, he warned. In this situation, “whoever wants peace must be able to dissuade possible aggressors”, defended the head of the Government in Germany.

Despite the billions of euros worth of weapons delivered to Ukraine by European Union (EU) countries since the start of the Russian invasion, they are still far from having reached sufficient capacity to sustainably support the country and replenish their own reserves. According to Olaf Scholz, to resolve these problems “closer” industrial cooperation between the 27 Member States is necessary.

“A strong defense requires a solid industrial base. This will happen if we, Europeans, group our orders, if we unite our resources and thus give the industry prospects for the next 10, 20 or 30 years”, he highlighted.

Scholz further acknowledged that Germany has been a bad example, because armaments policy “has been carried out as if it were a matter of buying a car”, without the long-term planning that has been necessary for defense industries to invest. in additional capabilities.

Rheinmetall aims to produce, across all its facilities in Europe, up to 700,000 artillery shells per year by 2025, compared to 400,000 to 500,000 this year. Before the Russian war in Ukraine, it only produced 70,000.

The largest German arms manufacturer “already has a greater capacity than the United States” in terms of producing 155mm ammunition, Armin Papperger, head of Rheinmetall, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

In the future, “the United States would like to produce one million ammunition per year and Europe two to three million, thanks to a union between European partners”, he added. By the end of March, the Europeans will have supplied only half of the million munitions promised to Ukraine last year.

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