'We didn't want to see what Putin is up to,' admits German Vice Chancellor

German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate Robert Habeck
German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate Robert Habeck Copyright Stroud, Olivia/
Copyright Stroud, Olivia/
By Liv Stroud
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German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate Robert Habeck warned that Europe must ramp up defence spending during a global conversation with Euronews.

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Euronews Correspondent Liv Stroud sits down with German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate, Robert Habeck, to discuss increasing military spending across Europe in light of Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat to European democracy.

"One has either not seen or didn't want to see what Putin is up to," Habeck told Euronews.

"I can imagine [spending the money] better for education, for research, for further education, for climate protection, for sustainability criteria. But we have to do it. The time when one doesn't want to do it is over," the vice chancellor added. He also cautioned over continuing to depend on the US to guarantee safety.

"We have to increase military spending to protect ourselves"
Robert Habeck
German Vice Chancellor

Europe's strongest economy, Germany, has been hit particularly hard with consequences from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, following years of hard energy dependence.

The Green politician is dealing with balancing both economic and climate policies, the latter of which has been proving to be a polarising topic for Germany, with many Germans either strongly opposing or supporting it. Berlin has been rocked by protests over the last few years, including the pro-environment student-organised 'Fridays For Future,' controversially activism-heavy 'Last Generation' who brought nationwide traffic to a standstill and defaced the iconic Brandenburg Gate, and the farmers, who drove their tractors to the centre of Berlin to decry the roll-back of the diesel subsidies.

Backing for the so-called traffic light coalition has been decreasing with a recent surge in support for the far-right party AfD. Habeck also spoke about the upcoming European elections, how to prepare better for climate change in Europe and how the German economy should recover following high inflation.

The full global conversation with Robert Habeck is released on Tuesday 26 March at 21:45.

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