After extensive approvals for arms exports before the change of government, Foreign Minister Annalena Barbach insisted on stricter rules for such exports. “As an alliance, we have made it clear over the past few years that we are reconsidering our arms export policy,” said the Greens politician for the German Press Agency.
“That’s why we are working on the Arms Export Control Act, which clarifies what criteria are used to authorize arms exports,” Barbach continued.
The former federal government of the union and the SPD have approved arms exports worth nearly five billion euros in the last nine days of their terms. This means that the total volume of export permits has risen to a record nine billion euros in the current year.
Egypt, which has been criticized for its involvement in human rights abuses and conflicts in Yemen and Libya, ranks first among the recipients.
The government of President Angela Merkel (CDU) and her then Vice President Olaf Scholes (SPD) agreed to sell three warships and 16 air defense systems to North Africa shortly before they were handed over on December 8.
The new alliance of the SPD, Greens and FDP now wants to restrict arms exports to so-called third countries outside the EU and NATO. To implement the most effective control, a law is to be introduced. So far there are only political guidelines for approval for arms exports.
EU arms export control “a thick board”
The Ministry of Economic Affairs under Green Party Vice Chancellor Robert Hebeck is currently in charge of the issue. However, there has been debate for years as to whether the matter should be handled better at the Foreign Ministry.
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Baerbock did not take a clear position on this question. However, he pointed out that arms exports could not be viewed in purely economic terms. “It is also a question of foreign policy, human rights, and international relations.”
Beerbock also wants to recommend joint arms export control at the European level. But she admitted it was “a thick board”. Countries like France are nowhere as strict as Germany in approving arms exports. (dpa)
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