The governments of both Germany and France have been criticized for not doing enough to support Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s war of aggression. According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IFW), which has itself been criticized for its counting methodology at times, Germany currently ranks fourth in terms of the total military aid delivered to Ukraine, while France comes in eighth. When, however, military aid is related to GDP, the contributions of both countries shrink, leaving Germany ranked nineteenth and France twenty-fourth according to IFW’s latest publication.
As the war has entered its second year and a ceasefire and peace still seems out of reach, the military support of Ukraine by its Western Allies remains vital for the country’s survival as a sovereign state. At the beginning of this year, the debate around the delivery of Western-made main battle tanks (MBTs) highlighted how challenging it is for the political leadership in Washington, Paris, and Berlin to maneuver between the demands for more weapon deliveries and calls for restraint in the face of escalation.
In our session, we will examine the reasons for the differences in the public debate in Germany, where pressure has been extremely high on Chancellor Olaf Sholz for not delivering more military equipment to Ukraine, and France, where President Emmanuel Macron has been relatively spared. Our two distinguished guests – both key figures driving the debate in their respective countries – will help us assess why Berlin has been at the center of international criticism when it has delivered more than Paris. We will also discuss other questions related to issues brought up in their publications to which we have linked below.
Jana Puglierin, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) Puglierin is coauthor of the Leopard Plan that argues for the delivery of German-made MBTs.
Pierre Haroche Lecturer in International Relations and International Security at Queen Mary University of London Haroche is the author of an op-ed in Le Monde that suggests the delivery of French-made Leclerc MBTs.
Moderator: Jacob Ross Research Fellow, Alfred von Oppenheim Center for the Future of Europe, DGAP
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