German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the new coalition government would introduce a law that would tighten restrictions on arms exports.
The Green Party politician made the comments days after it was revealed that the administration of then Chancellor Angela Merkel had approved export deals worth nearly $ 5 billion. euros with Egypt and Singapore as it prepared to hand over power.
What did Baerbock say?
“As a coalition we have made it clear that we are reviewing the arms export policy of recent years,” Baerbock told German news agency dpa on Sunday.
“We are working on an arms export control law that will clarify the criteria for approving arms exports.”
The new coalition government – made up of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the neoliberal FDP – has pledged in its alliance agreement to tighten arms exports to so-called third countries outside of the European Union and NATO.
This would include Egypt, which has been one of Germany’s top arms export destinations.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock
Huge offers approved at the last minute
The previous government approved the sale of three warships and 16 air defense systems from Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and Diehl Defense to the North African country.
The approval came in Merkel’s last nine days in power and despite criticism of Egypt’s human rights record and its involvement in the conflicts in Yemen and Libya.
An agreement to deliver a military submarine to Singapore has also been signed.
On Saturday, figures from the Ministry of the Economy, requested from a politician in the left-wing Socialist Party, revealed that the last-minute deals were worth nearly 5 billion euros ($ 5.6 billion).
German arms exports hit new record
The deals put Germany’s arms exports to a new 2021 record of 9.04 billion euros.
The previous record for German arms exports was 8.02 billion euros in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with the United States, Russia and France, Germany is one of the world’s largest arms exporters, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The country was responsible for 5.5% of global arms exports from 2016 to 2020.
If not Germany, then who?
Conservative bloc foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter defended the outgoing government’s agreements, saying they were made “within the existing legal framework”.
He told dpa that criticism from left-wing parties was “nothing more than crocodile tears”.
Kiesewetter said it was vital to protect Germany’s security interests in the upcoming reform of arms export controls.
“It is in Germany’s interest that the countries of the Middle East continue to be supported in their armaments policy by EU states. It cannot be in our interest if, at the In the future, these states get their supplies from China or Russia, âhe warned.
With material from the press agency dpa.
Edited by: Farah Bahgat