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„As Chancellor, I bear the responsibility”: Self-critical Scholz admits mistakes – and wants to “politically combat” AfD

The Chancellor Olaf Scholz admitted errors in the work of the traffic light coalition. The SPD politician told the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” when asked about his share in the government’s appearance: “As Chancellor, I bear the responsibility for the government. Period. It would be absurd to say that I have nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, it has been too rare to make important decisions without lengthy public debates. We have to blame ourselves for that, and I could have done without that.” When asked if this was a form of self-criticism, Scholz said: “Yes.”

Scholz practices self-criticism and promises improvement

The coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP has been involved in many partly tough public disputes during its term of more than two years, for example about the heating law or the child basic security. The parties of the coalition are doing poorly in polls.

However, Scholz expressed confidence that there will be an improvement: “The fact that we have now managed to draw up a proper budget that meets our current challenges after the ruling from Karlsruhe gives me hope. Together with the decisions on citizen’s income, migration and the expansion of wind power and solar energy, this can be a good basis for the government to win back trust.”

Chancellor demands: “The AfD must be politically fought”

Regarding the rise of the AfD, the Chancellor said: “The spirit is out of the bottle.” Pushing this back will be difficult “when it comes to those with right-wing attitudes”. The others must be convinced “by making policies that lead our country in the right direction and address the problems” – for example, in migration.

On the debate about a possible ban on the party, Scholz said that the relevant authorities, especially the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, were dealing with this question. “Our highest court will also decide in the foreseeable future on a lawsuit by the AfD, which is contesting that the party as a whole should be monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. And just this week, there was a fundamental decision on the exclusion of the NPD from party financing. This is an important decision that now needs to be carefully evaluated. However, regardless of all this, I am convinced: The AfD must be politically fought.” Right-wing populism is “poison for our coexistence and our democracy.”

Mood in Germany is “uneasy”

The Chancellor stated that he perceives the mood in the country as “uneasy”. “In the country, one can feel the economic and political upheavals caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, there is a feeling of uncertainty because as a economically strong country, we are in the process of setting the course so that there will still be good jobs here in 20 and 30 years and we can remain at the forefront technologically.”

The coalition is not taking the easy road, but faces conflicts in the face of major challenges, said Scholz. In the past 10 to 15 years, too much has been left unattended because governments have avoided conflicts.

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