Brussels (Brussels Morning) In his first major address to the Bundestag since coming to power, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised his government would bring about the country’s biggest economic transformation in a century.
Focusing primarily on domestic issues, Scholz pledged to foster investments in climate protection and digitalisation, promising that no one would be left behind in the country’s upcoming push for progress.
Despite serving in the previous government as vice-chancellor and finance minister, Scholz stressed his new government, consisting of his Social Democrats (SPD) party, the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens, would represent a “restart” for the country, breaking away from the policies of his predecessor, former Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Scholz noted that Germany needs to double its renewable energy production by 2030, while at the same time expanding relevant infrastructure like charging stations for electric vehicles. His government would aim to create a framework in which most future investments in Germany would be private, expanding the national bank’s role in providing support for startups.
Scholz also pledged to foster social cohesion, presenting plans to raise the minimum wage and ensure a more inclusive society. “We are an immigration country, but we must work at becoming a better country for integration”, he observed.
Speaking of his immediate priorities, Scholz said he would focus on tackling the coronavirus pandemic, pledging that his government would have “no red lines” in fighting the fourth wave of infections in his country, and urging citizens to get their vaccinations.
An hour into his address, he turned to foreign policy issues, stressing that the success of the European Union was Germany’s top priority, and that his government would work to strengthen the Union. One of his aims will be to see expansion of qualified majority voting at the European Council.