Towards a massive rearmament of Europe in the face of the Russian threat? This is in any case the opinion of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who on Monday called on Europeans to turn towards mass production of military equipment, favoring grouped and long-term orders.
The German leader was speaking at the inauguration of a new factory for arms manufacturer Rheinmetall on the country’s largest defense industrial complex, in Untelüss, in northern Germany.
“ We must move away from manufacturing and toward large-scale arms production “, he declared, on the spot. It’s about a ” urgent necessity. Because as harsh as this reality is, we do not live in times of peace “, also underlined the Chancellor.
For the chancellor, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the ” imperial ambitions » formulated by Vladimir Putin represent “ a major threat “. In this situation, ” whoever wants peace must succeed in deterring possible aggressors “, he believes.
“ A strong defense requires a strong industrial base »
During this speech, Olaf Scholz also pointed out the insufficiency of the billions of euros of arms delivered to Ukraine by EU countries, still far from having reached sufficient capacity to sustainably support the country and reconstitute their own stocks. To remedy this, according to the manager, industrial cooperation is necessary “ more narrow » between the Twenty-Seven.
“ A strong defense requires a strong industrial base. This will see the light of day if we, Europeans, group our orders together, if we pool our resources and thus give the industry prospects for the next 10, 20 or 30 years. “, did he declare.
In this respect, Germany has long been a bad example, Olaf Scholz recognized, because the arms policy “ was carried out as if it were buying a car ”, without the long-term planning that defense industries need to invest in additional capabilities.
The German General Staff on the same line as Scholz
Olaf Scholz’s position is fully shared by his chief of staff, Carsten Breuer. In an interview given last Saturday to the German daily Die Weltthe senior officer considers it necessary that the German army, in the process of being brought up to speed since the launch of the Russian war in Ukraine, is “fit for war”.
“Based on the different analyzes and when I see the potential threat that Russia represents, for us that means five to eight years of preparation”declared the German general. “That doesn’t mean there will be a war then. But it is possible. Because I am a soldier, I say: in five years, we must be fit for war”he clarified.
Boris Pistorius, the German Minister of Defense, also went in this direction recently: he presented new directives from the German army, in which the government insists that the Bundeswehr should also be able to engage on the international scene , as it did in the Western Balkans and the Sahel region.
As a reminder, this year, German military spending will represent 2.1% of the country’s GDP, or 72 billion euros. A record. Germany will also equip itself with a fund of 100 billion euros intended to modernize its army. Berlin is also considering introducing compulsory military service.
Rise of the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall
The new Rheinmetall arms factory is to produce 155-millimeter artillery ammunition from 2025, gradually aiming for a capacity of 200,000 shells per year. This is, according to the Chancellor, a “ signal » addressed to Europeans called upon to strengthen the continent’s defense industrial base.
Across all of its sites in Europe, the manufacturer wants to produce a total of up to 700,000 artillery shells per year in 2025, compared to 400 to 500,000 this year. Before the Russian war in Ukraine, it produced only 70,000.