Brussels (Brussels Morning) Social Democrats’ (SPD) chancellor-candidate, the current Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance, Olaf Scholz, has called for a policy change towards Russia and Eastern Europe, in outlining his vision for Germany should he become the new chancellor after September’s federal elections.
In an exclusive interview with Deutsche Welle, Scholz said that a new policy towards the east of Europe should “revitalise the principle of the OSCE”, a reference to the principles of security and human rights set by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Scholz emphasised that Russia and other eastern countries “need to accept that European integration will continue”, noting that ensuring joint security in Europe necessitates relations between the EU and Russia.
The socialists’ chancellor-candidate stressed that the Russian annexation of the Crimea peninsula represents a huge problem that continues to fuel tensions in Ukraine, which is why it is “imperative” to return to the rule of law. “Might does not make right,” Scholz declared.
Speaking about the race for the chancellor, now entering its final phase, Scholz said he wants to lead the next government, adding that his party has several options on how to build a coalition.
Scholz has consistently polled as the most popular of the chancellor-candidates, far ahead of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) candidate Armin Laschet and the Greens’ candidate Annalena Baerbock.
His party currently trails CDU, which is polling at 22-25%. SPD is polling at 17-19%, neck-and- neck with the Greens (17-20%). Scholz believes he could lead the next government as the head of a coalition with the Greens plus the free-market liberals FDP, which are polling between 12 and 13%. A coalition with the far-left the Left, currently polling at around 7%, also remains an option.