Minister Schulz warns of ‘biggest famine since World War II’

Svenja Schulz is actually a happy person. But Putin’s terrible war in Ukraine and the consequences of world hunger have a noticeable impact on the Minister of Development.

When we interviewed her for an interview at her department in Berlin on Thursday, she was still smiling politely, but her famous sense of humor backed away from the quiet seriousness.


Minister in conversation with Bild am Sonntag reporters, Angelica Hellemann and Thomas BlokFoto: Niels Starnick / BILD

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Minister in conversation with Bild am Sonntag reporters, Angelica Hellemann and Thomas BlokPhoto: Niels Starnick/Bild

Bild am Sonntag: Mrs. Schulz, what are you doing specifically to help people in Ukraine?

Svenja Schulze: “It is important to me that Germany not only supports Ukraine militarily, but also makes life more bearable for its people. To this end, we have now increased the emergency program for Ukraine from 122 million euros to 185 million euros. This will restore drinking water supplies and rebuild apartments, schools and kindergartens. Destroyed children.”

The United States pledged 31 billion euros to Ukraine. Don’t you find 185 million euros embarrassing by comparison?

Schulz: “Without meaning. Not only 185 million euros have been pledged, but it has been firmly planned by the Ministry of Development for specific projects. Other ministries are providing more and we will do more. As the bombs are no longer falling, Germany will contribute billions to the reconstruction. My ministry is already preparing for this.” .

The war also destroyed much of Ukraine’s wheat crop, which is the world’s food basket. Is a global hunger crisis looming now?

Schulz: “The situation is very tragic. Because of Corona, severe drought and now war, food prices around the world have increased by a third and are now at record levels. The World Food Program currently assumes that more than 300 million people are suffering from acute hunger and must constantly revise its projections upwards. The bitter message is that we are facing the worst famine since World War II, with millions dead.”

Is it okay to turn our grain into green fuel while people are starving in other parts of the world?

Schulz: “No! No one wants to be held responsible for increasing hunger in the world when they are full. We should stop putting food in the tank – whether it is wheat, palm oil, canola or corn. 4.4 percent in fuel is food and feed. That should be reduced to Zero – not only in Germany, but as internationally as possible. In Germany, 2.7 billion liters of fuel from vegetable oil pour into car tanks every year. This is almost half of Ukraine’s sunflower oil crop. “

What role does Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin play in the looming hunger crisis?

Schulz: Putin is at war with hunger. It takes advantage of the fact that many countries around the world depend on Russian and Ukrainian agricultural products. He has stolen grain from Ukraine and will only share it with unequivocally pro-Russian countries. At the United Nations General Assembly, 40 countries, home to half the world’s population, did not condemn Putin’s war of aggression. This is also a tangible consequence of vulnerability to food extortion.”

Should Germany cut development aid to countries that don’t turn their backs on Putin?

Schulz: “On the contrary: every country we did not win, we push into the arms of Russia. This cannot be the way. We must make as many countries as possible independent of Putin. That is why I just agreed to an additional 50 million euros for Moldova and 27 million euros for Georgia. Moldova is highly dependent on Russian electricity and gas, and both countries are rightly afraid of Russian aggression. “


Minister Schulz warns of
Photo: BUILD

Indonesia has now invited Russia to the G-20 meeting. Are you going to sit at a table with your Russian counterpart as usual?

Schulz: “I can’t imagine it at all. When the Russian Deputy Finance Minister spoke at a recent World Bank meeting, I left the room with my colleagues.

Could there be normal cooperation with Putin again?

Schulz: “Certainly not a habit. Nobody can seriously say today what the relationship with Russia will be like in the future. If I apply the criterion that we only work with democracies, I will have serious problems in development cooperation. One thing is clear: as long as this brutal war of aggression raging, cooperation with Putin is out of the question.”

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