The insufficient level of support for the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine in Germany is the result of inefficient and untimely communications by the German government. Also, due to the delay in deciding whether or not to supply German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, there is a risk of late delivery.
In an interview with the Guildhall news agency, the German MP Tobias Winkler (CSU) talked about the reasons why the decision to allow the transfer of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine took as long as it did. Tobias Winkler talks about what finally made Germany shift and allow the German-made Leopard 2 tanks to be transferred to Ukraine.
— To a greater or lesser extent, this is the result of pressure from various sides. On the one hand, it was the result of pressure on the chancellor, yes, but on the other hand, he got a good moment to give permission in the context of relations with his own party and supporters, appealing to the fact that he abstained for a long time, but as a result of pressure from all sides, finally made a decision.
A decision was made by the German parliament back in April to allow heavy weapons to be sent to Ukraine. This included weapons like Panzerhaubitze 2000 (German self-propelled artillery) but did not include tanks. In the summer the German opposition put forward the idea to start preparing the supply of German-made Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine. Tobias Winkle says that it took four months of pressure on chancellor Olaf Scholz until he finally made the decision a few days after the Rammstein meeting. The reason for the decision he says is that the German chancellor finally had the support of his supporters and the party.
— If he (the chancellor) had made this decision in October, it would have been a good step for you, he would have received our support, but not the support of his supporters, he would not have received support from the party. Therefore, he needed time to convince them, and now they are convinced, based on pressure from all sides.
The concern about the late decision is that the delivery of the Leopard 2 tanks from Germany will take up to three months. This is not only due to reasons such as the time it takes to transfer the tanks and spare parts or the time it takes to train the Ukrainian soldiers on the new equipment. The transfer is also delayed due to political and bureaucratic reasons. Tobias Winkle says that the opposition is trying to speed up the process as much as it can but he is not confident that Ukraine will get the Leopard 2 tanks before the end of March
— The decision has been made, and now it’s time for us to do our work. But if it had been made earlier, the preparation would have already been done. Now we are just starting it and we hope that we will be able to make deliveries as early as possible, knowing about the upcoming massive Russian offensive in the coming weeks.
Although a majority of Germans want Ukraine to win polls say that only 43% want to send tanks to Ukraine. For Ukraine, it is very important to increase the support of German society on the issue of arms and supplies to Ukraine. To make that happen it is important that society and politicians share the same views on the matter, something that is not the case with Germany. Tobias Winkle explains that amongst other reasons the communication between the German government and its people is lacking.
— I believe that public opinion is the result of political leadership. If the head of state is a chancellor who acts convincingly, communicating and explaining his decisions and actions, then people are willing to follow. Not all 100%, of course, but there would be significantly more of them than now.
We see that the numbers (statistics of public support for the supply of tanks – ed.) are changing in the right direction. Because this decision was the first one communicated (with the society – ed.) over the past month. That is, even if you want to do something, you need to explain it and speak it out.
Communication, unfortunately, is a big problem for the German government. Communication between the Bundestag and the government, and communication between the government and the population. I see the problem, effective communication, and political leadership, which gives people direction.