Germans should make ‘personal sacrifices’ to support war against Russia, says wealthy FDP politician

A wealthy politician with strong ties to the arms industry is calling for Germans to make “sacrifices” to protect Ukraine

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody
Marie-Agnes Zimmermann-Strack, deputy chairman of the German Liberal Party (FDP), attends a party convention in Berlin, Germany, Friday, April 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

The chairwoman of the German parliament’s influential defense committee, liberal-democrat Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP), has demanded “personal sacrifices” from the Germans in the war against Russia.

“We must resolutely oppose Putin and the dictators of this world who hate and want to destroy our democratic life,” she told the newspapers of the Funke media group on Tuesday.

Although such action requires a willingness to make sacrifices, people in this country should not become weak, she said. The politician did not specify exactly what areas Germans should make a sacrifice in; however, they may increasingly have no choice in the matter. The boss of Sparkasse Bank, Helmut Schleweis, said this week that Germans are facing a serious crisis this winter and already coming under strain. He stated that the majority of Germans are reaching their financial limits due to inflation, and that up to 60 percent of German households will need to use all their disposable income for pure living expenses, such as heating, food, and rent.

Although it is unclear what the exact net worth of Strack-Zimmermann is, a variety of different websites estimate her net worth at between €1 million to €10 million. She worked in Nuremberg for the Tessloff publishing house in the children’s division for 20 years. What is clear is that she is well paid in her role in the German Bundestag, making far more than the average German. This means she is unlikely to face the same difficulties German citizens have when it comes to inflation, which has reached a 40-year high and is only expected to worsen.

According to the Bundestag’s official salary information, she earns over €10,000 a month, amounting to over €120,000 a year — well over double the average German salary of €4,100 a month. That does not include perks like travel, dining, and other bonuses for her work in the influential defense committee.

She is also known as one of the most out-spoken hawks in the German government, calling for Germany to send tanks and other heavy weapons to Ukraine. She has been criticized for her ties to the arms industry as well.

Although many European nations are in lockstep with Russian sanctions, Hungary has stressed that Europe’s position on Russian energy sanctions is disastrous, and the country’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, said yesterday that Hungary refuses to even discuss further energy sanctions against Russia.

Within Germany, there is also growing opposition to the government’s stance on the crisis. Both the Left Party and the conservative Alternative for Germany (AfD) have called for the government to stop sending weapons to Ukraine and instead focus on ensuring peace in the region, with both parties arguing that poorer and middle-class households will bear the brunt of the sanctions against Russia.

In view of the increased energy prices, Strack-Zimmermann spoke in favor of relieving the financial burden on Germans struggling with inflation. However, she advised everyone to assess the situation realistically.

“It’s also about the future life of our children and grandchildren, who also have the right, like we have had for decades, to live in a free and peaceful Germany,” she said.

Criticism of Strack-Zimmermann’s demand came from AfD Member of Parliament Beatrix von Storch.

“The FDP demands personal sacrifices? Then she should sacrifice her ministerial post in the traffic light (coalition), to restore her credibility,” von Storch said.

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