The leadership of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (the SPD) has criticised its previous policy with respect to Russia under Vladimir Putin.
Source: European Pravda with reference to n-tv
Details: SPD leader Lars Klingbeil said at a party conference that it had been "a mistake not to distance ourselves from Putin's system earlier". Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, admitted that he had "completely underestimated" Putin's imperial thinking.
They were also critical of the Social Democrats’ Russia policy before the war in Ukraine.
Klingbeil noted that now the question is the organisation of security against Russia. He said Germany stands firmly on the side of Ukraine, which was attacked.
Meanwhile, Mützenich spoke out against attempts to discredit the Social Democrats’ long-term policy of détente towards Russia. He said it was "shameful" to put it "in the same category as an aggressive war" against Ukraine and repeated his call to use diplomatic opportunities to end conflicts.
The key proposal presented by the party leadership stated that Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine shows that "we have not always correctly assessed the events of recent years". It was a "mistake" to assume that strengthening economic ties would contribute to Russia's democratisation. Instead, it led to Germany "becoming unilaterally dependent on Russia in terms of energy policy".
"As long as Russia pursues its imperialist goal of conquering and suppressing sovereign states, there can be no normalisation of relations with Russia," the proposal pointed out.
A sovereign Europe is the most important political response to changing times, the party conference's draft decision continued.
In addition to expanding the internal market and strengthening social Europe, it is also essential "that the EU should overcome the ineffective and unproductive fragmentation in its defence policy and arms industries". Regarding Eastern European policy, the SPD document says it is important to "create conditions for the fastest possible acceptance of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia". The Social Democrats believe that the EU must also "move away from the principle of unanimity" in foreign policy in order to preserve Europe's ability to act.
Background: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stated that his country must be prepared to expand its support for Ukraine as support from others decreases.
Recently, he also hit back at accusations that Germany is not doing enough to help Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia.