April 23. 2024. 6:42

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Leading liberal breaks ranks with government, sides with opposition over Taurus missile delivery delay


Dissatisfied with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s reluctance to deliver Taurus missiles to Ukraine, the EU lead candidate for the German liberals will side with the conservative opposition party in an upcoming motion, putting another strain on the coalition’s fragile bond.

Pressure is mounting on Scholz, as the parliamentary groups of his three-way coalition are to pass a motion on Thursday calling for increasing the government’s support for Ukraine.

The liberal FDP, in particular, has been largely unhappy with Scholz’s reluctance to supply Taurus missiles to Ukraine. The FDP’s top candidate for the upcoming EU elections, Anges Strack-Zimmermann, is now openly breaking ranks with the coalition by voting in favour of a motion tabled by the conservative opposition CDU/CSU.

“I personally will therefore also vote in favour of the CDU/CSU (EPP) parliamentary group’s motion […], which includes an explicit demand for the Taurus,” Strack-Zimmermann posted on X on Tuesday.

While the coalition’s motion goes further than ever and will increase pressure for far-reaching German support for Ukraine, Strack-Zimmermann is missing a crucial detail – mentioning the long-range Taurus missile.

Taurus is a German cruise missile that Ukraine has long been requesting because of its ability to overtake the Russian air defence system. So far, Scholz has been reluctant to supply it, fearing an escalation with Russia because of its ability to reach Russian soil.

“The current proposal by the [coalition] to support Ukraine is much more far-reaching than anything that seemed feasible with the SPD recently. […] However, there is exactly one word missing, making it right,” she wrote on X.

While the motion of the government’s parliamentary groups mentions Ukraine’s need for long-range missiles, it does not mention the Taurus missiles directly, as the SPD was heavily opposed to using the term.

The FDP is increasingly at unease with its coalition partners. On Sunday, the party’s secretary general, Bijan Djir-Sarai, openly flirted with the option to rule alongside the conservative CDU/CSU following the next election, as the two sides would have much more in common than the current ruling coalition.

Strack-Zimmermann has gained attention in Germany due to her outspoken support of Ukraine as a chair of the parliament’s Defence Committee. With the motto of “Argumentative in Europe” and Strack-Zimmermann’s recognition level in Germany, the FDP is trying to win over voters for the European election.

However, Europe Elect’s latest prediction puts the FDP at four seats, down one compared to 2019 results. In addition, the three-party government has been slipping in the polls for months, with the FDP particularly unpopular, polling at 4%, down from 11.4% in the election that gave it a place in the coalition.

The move by the EU-leader candidate represents another aggressive stance against the policies of the three-way coalition government.

(Kjeld Neubert | Euractiv.de)

Read more with Euractiv

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