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Chancellor Scholz visited Rheinmetall in Unterlüß on Monday - here in conversation with Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall. Photo: Federal Government/Steins
Scholz bei Rheinmetall

Chancellor Scholz visits Rheinmetall

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Autor: B S

Datum: 13. Feb. 2024

February 12, 2024 | Rheinmetall to build a new munitions factory: The ground-breaking ceremony for a new ammunition factory for the Rheinmetall armaments group took place in Unterlüß on Monday. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) was present.

The factory, expected to bolster defense capabilities and create up to 500 jobs, is seen as a critical development for both local employment and international defense commitments. The event was marked by protests, including a significant demonstration involving around 300 tractors and 400 people.

On his visit to Rheinmetall in Unterlüß, Chancellor Olaf Scholz addressed a distinguished audience, marking the occasion as a significant day for Unterlüß, the Südheide region, Lower Saxony, and the security of Germany and Europe. He expressed gratitude to those involved in advancing the project rapidly, particularly highlighting Rheinmetall’s €300 million investment in the new Lower Saxony plant for its role in ensuring the Bundeswehr and European partners can be independently and sustainably supplied with artillery ammunition.

Scholz remarked on the impressive scale of the project, aiming to produce 200,000 artillery shells per year, along with explosives and rocket artillery components. He stressed the importance of such production in light of the daily thousands of artillery shells fired on the Eastern and Southern Ukraine fronts, acknowledging the previous lack of such manufacturing in Germany and other European countries and the depleted state of the Bundeswehr’s depots.

Critiquing past defense policy approaches, Scholz emphasized the need for proactive, substantial investment in defense capabilities, contrasting it with civilian procurement practices. He praised Rheinmetall’s swift ramp-up of production as a critical shift towards greater attention and action in defense matters, reflecting a broader commitment to revitalizing Germany’s defense industry.

With the special €100 billion fund for the Bundeswehr and the commitment to allocate two percent of Germany’s GDP to defense, Scholz reaffirmed the foundation laid for a robust defense strategy. He underscored the urgency of enhancing the Bundeswehr’s capabilities amidst Russian aggression, advocating for effective deterrence and support for Ukraine as pivotal to European security.

Scholz highlighted Germany’s substantial military support for Ukraine, calling for continued and increased aid from the U.S. and European countries. He lauded the cooperation with Denmark, particularly in joint defense procurement and the European Sky Shield Initiative, as models for European defense collaboration.

Finally, Scholz envisioned the day’s event and the expansion of the Unterlüß plant as a beacon for a more unified, efficient European defense industry, stressing the importance of shifting from small-scale manufacturing to mass production of defense materials. He concluded by expressing pride in the workforce’s contribution to the nation’s well-being and the unique significance of Unterlüß’s development for the region and Germany.

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(Sources: Bundesregierung, Rheinmetall, NDR/2024)