Germany must ‘normalise’ relationship with military, says SPD co-leader

Lars Klingbeil says country should take leadership role as it relaxes pacifist stance following Ukraine war

Germany needs to “normalise” its relationship with the military and learn to take a leadership role in Europe after “almost 80 years of restraint”, the co-leader of the governing Social Democratic party (SPD) has said.

In a speech marking a further point in Berlin’s slow pivot from a broadly pacifist foreign policy agenda since Russia’s 24 February invasion of Ukraine, Lars Klingbeil said it was important to recognise military force as a legitimate political measure for a government striving for peace.

“It is the last measure, but it has to be clear that it is a measure,” the centre-left politician told a security congress in Berlin on Tuesday. “We are currently seeing that in Ukraine.”

“My wish is that we as a society develop a new normality in our dealings with the Bundeswehr.”