The chancellor had to depart for an emergency meeting of his own party’s executive committee, Der Spiegel has reported FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives at the Zurich airport, Zurich, Switzerland, on June 15, 2024. © Global Look Press / Michael Kappeler

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will skip the second day of Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s Swiss ‘peace conference’, Der Spiegel reported early on Sunday. Scholz had to fly back to Berlin for an urgent meeting with his political party, the German weekly reported.

The chancellor is in for some “difficult talks on the budget” with his coalition partners, according to Der Spiegel. The 2025 federal budget must be approved by early July, but Scholz’s government is still embroiled in a heated dispute over the details, according to German media.

Germany still has a €1 billion ($1.07 billion) gap in its draft budget and Finance Minister Christian Lindner wants to cut spending – something that other ministries oppose, broadcaster ZDF reported on Sunday.

Germany’s industry-heavy economy has suffered over the past few years after the US and the EU placed numerous economic restrictions on Russia, leading to the bloc largely losing access to cheap Russian fossil fuels. That instigated an energy crisis that has gripped the country since the start of the Ukraine conflict.

In February, the German central bank warned that the nation’s economy “would be in a technical recession” in the first quarter of this year. This week, Scholz also faced accusations of stalling new EU sanctions on Russia.

US VP leaves Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ early US VP leaves Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ early

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US VP leaves Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ early

The German dpa news agency cited unnamed EU diplomats as claiming that Berlin’s position was a key factor in delaying the adoption of the EU’s 14th round of sanctions against Moscow. The report prompted the chancellor to refute the accusations while still in Switzerland.

“[The sanctions] are not being blocked. We are discussing the specific design,” he told Welt TV on Saturday. “It’s about how we can ensure that the German economy can carry out its activities.” Earlier, the media reported that Scholz was allegedly concerned by the prospect of subsidiaries of EU companies being held liable for sanctions violations.

During the conference, the chancellor stated that the Ukraine conflict could not be resolved without Russia’s participation in talks. “It is true that peace in Ukraine cannot be achieved without… Russia,” he said.

The White House said that US Vice President Kamala Harris had also left the Swiss-hosted conference after only a few hours on Saturday, returning to Washington before the summit’s main working day began.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida were also reportedly among those to leave the event after only a few hours. (RT)