Baerbock is pushing for stricter controls on German arms exports

Status: December 26, 2021 12:24 p.m.

The balance of the German arms exports approved in 2021 ends up at more than nine billion euros. The traffic light coalition wants to control criteria more strictly in the future. Because most exports are controversial because of the destination Egypt.

Never before have so many arms exports from Germany been approved within a year as in 2021. Exports to Egypt in particular, which were approved shortly before the change of government, are causing criticism. The new Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock therefore insists on stricter controls on exports in the future.

The traffic light coalition is aiming for a so-called arms export control law, said the Green politician of the dpa news agency. The law should show more clearly the criteria under which exports of armaments can be approved. The primary goal is also to curb exports to so-called third countries.

These third countries include countries that do not belong to the EU or NATO. But with Egypt, of all places, such a third country is the main recipient of German arms exports – and has been for three years in a row. However, the African country has come under massive criticism: on the one hand, because of the allegation of human rights violations, and on the other, because of its involvement in the conflicts in Yemen and Libya.

Billions in permits in the last days of the GroKo

The answer from the Federal Ministry of Economics to a request from MP Sevim Dagdelen of the Left Party now shows that this year the export of military equipment worth 4.34 billion euros to Egypt was approved. The majority of these approvals were only granted during the last few meters of the term of office of the grand coalition, which was voted out in September. Specifically, exports for 0.18 billion euros were approved by November 29, as reported by the dpa news agency.

Conversely, this means that permits for more than four billion euros were only issued in the last few days before the traffic light coalition officially took over government. The previous government was only executive in office since the outcome of the Bundestag election. Far-reaching political decisions should actually no longer be made in this transition phase.

From the newly formed Federal Ministry for Climate and Economics under the Green Minister Robert Habeck, according to dpa, the only reaction to these figures was that the old federal government was “fully responsible” for these export permits.

But the current Ampel coalition partner, the SPD, also belonged to this government – and the new Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz was at the head of the Ministry of Finance at the time. Arms exports in Germany are checked and approved by the Federal Security Council, to which the Chancellor and seven ministers belong, including the finance minister.

“Rogue piece” versus “crocodile tears”

Reason enough for the left-wing politician Dagdelen to accuse Scholz of a “real crook”. He had “impressively demonstrated how inconsequential the SPD’s criticism of unscrupulous arms exports, especially of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes, ultimately remains”.

The CDU foreign politician Roderich Kiesewetter blocks such criticism as “crocodile tears”. He emphasized: “The acting federal government took place within the valid legal framework.” According to Kiesewetter, security policy interests must also be taken into account when reviewing arms exports abroad:

It is in Germany’s interest if the countries in the Middle East continue to allow themselves to be equipped by EU states in their armaments policy. It cannot be in our interest if these states are to be supplied in China or Russia in the future.

Exports worth more than nine billion euros approved

In total, exports of German armaments worth around 9.04 billion euros were approved between January 1 and December 14 of this year – a record. The highest amount to date was 8.015 billion euros in 2019. The traffic light coalition has already approved the first exports – over 3679 euros.

The more than nine billion euros include almost four billion euros for the export of war weapons, and almost five billion euros go to military equipment that goes abroad. Almost two thirds of exports go to third countries (65.8 percent). Last year it was only 50.1 percent.

Foreign Minister Baerbock wants more arms control

Eva Ellermann, ARD Berlin, 26.12.2021 · 12:03 pm

Leave A Comment