In connection with the Ukraine war, Scholz referred to Russian failures and miscalculations. He highlighted three points.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin “didn’t overrun Ukraine in a few days, as he had planned, quite the opposite,” Scholz said. He underestimated Ukraine’s readiness to defend itself. Secondly, the EU and NATO are not split, but “more united than they have been for a long time”. And thirdly, “we in Germany didn’t give in when Russia turned off our gas taps in the summer – because we won’t allow ourselves to be blackmailed.”

Scholz expressed understanding for the concerns of citizens. “This turning point is also a tough test for us and our country,” he said. “We sympathize with the Ukrainians, who, even on days like today, cannot rest from the Russian bombs and rockets.” And in Germany, too, the consequences of the war can be felt in everyday life – “when shopping in the supermarket, at the gas station or when we pay the electricity or gas bill”.

But Germany is a country with “overwhelming compassion and helpfulness” in which people stand up for others. Scholz also referred to his government’s relief packages – and summed it up: “This is Germany at the beginning of this new year: a strong country. A country that is working with energy and speed on a good, secure future. A country that joins forces, especially in hard times.”

The Chancellor emphasized that new simplifications for citizens would come into force on Sunday at the beginning of 2023 – the expanded housing benefit, the increased child benefit, tax relief in the amount of 19 billion euros and price caps for the costs of electricity, gas and district heating .

“Our cohesion is our biggest asset,” said Scholz. His wish is: “Let’s stick together in the coming year.”