Germany gets new defence minister

Following the resignation of Christine Lambrecht, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has appointed Boris Pistorius as the country's new defence minister. The press discusses whether Pistorius, former interior minister of the state of Lower Saxony, will be able to get the ailing Bundeswehr in shape and what his stance will be on battle tank deliveries to Ukraine.

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Die Welt (DE) /

A herculean task

The new minister's task is to make Germany's armed forces fit for war, the daily paper Die Welt stresses:

“At the beginning of the Ukraine war ten months ago, the Bundeswehr was in a bad state. Today, after handing over extensive supplies of weapons, it is in an even worse state. Pistorius needs to procure money and weapons, create suitable structures for national and Alliance defence and restore the reputation of politicians in the armed forces, which has been ruined not just by Lambrecht. A herculean task. It is by no means certain that Pistorius will master it. But he deserves a chance.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

An open supporter of Ukraine

Whether the new German defence minister acts in Ukraine's interests will become clear when he meets his Nato counterparts in Ramstein on Friday, writes Ukrainska Pravda:

“The main thing is that Boris Pistorius has publicly declared his support for Ukraine winning the war [as early as May 2022] - something Olaf Scholz has not done openly so far. ... So will the new minister be able to achieve a turnaround in German support for Ukraine? The answer to this question could come as early as Friday, when the new minister faces pressure from the Allies for Berlin to finally give the green light for Leopard tanks to be delivered to Ukraine.”

Mediapart (FR) /

No chance of success without the chancellor's backing

Mediapart's Germany correspondent Thomas Schnee doubts whether Pistorius will be able to reform the Bundeswehr:

“The chancellor did promise a revolution for the country's security at the beginning of the war, but then he left it to his minister to implement it. However, he gave her little help and support, so in the end Christine Lambrecht failed. The bottom line is that the chancellor was as amateurish as his minister. ... Boris Pistorius comes from Lower Saxony, a social democratic region with many barracks and military bases. But Pistorius, a lawyer, is not a military expert but a policeman specialised in cyber security, internal security and migration policy.”