The German defence industry has exported last year for the first time, military equipment and weapons for less than five billion euros. Overall, the Federal government approved of 2018 almost a quarter less arms exports than the year before: The value of exports fell by 22.7 percent of 6.24 billion euros to 4.82 billion euros. The particularly controversial deliveries to countries outside the European Union and Nato declined by 32.8 percent. The response of the Ministry of economy to a request from the Green party member of Parliament Omid Nouripour.
For the German armaments industry, the means in the third year in a row with a decline. Growth there was last 2015, then to a record level of 7,86 billion euros. The Federation of German security and defence industry (BDSV) had announced the Trend earlier in December. The German arms export policy was “unpredictable” and for customers and partner countries through surprising twists and turns, often not understandable, said BDSV-chief Executive Hans Christoph Atzpodien at the end of the year.
The German approval practice is more restrained than that of the Alliance partners, the USA, France and the United Kingdom. So, the Federal government had stopped as a reaction to the scandal of the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi all arms exports to Saudi Arabia – already approved. No other major arms exporter in the EU or Nato had followed the example. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, called the Embargo in connection with the case, Khashoggi “pure demagoguery”.
Despite the Export ban in November belonged to Saudi Arabia to be Approved, however in the entire year of the best customers of the German arms industry: exports worth 416 million euros. Alone from January until October 2018, German companies exported arms to the value of 160 million euros to Saudi Arabia. Thus, the value of exports was already in the first ten months of around 50 million Euro higher than in the entire year of 2017.
Actually, the Federal government had decided, at the Insistence of the SPD in March in the coalition agreement not to provide more arms to countries that are “directly” involved in the Yemen war. The coalition agreement left open but behind doors for previously approved exports. These were only closed with the Khashoggi affair.
More than half of all arms exports (52 percent) were in the so-called third countries outside of the EU and Nato. A number of authoritarian States, accused of human rights violations to the load. Exports to these countries will be criticized by the Left and the Greens. The Greens had decided that the restrictive policy for German arms exports is nearly 20 years ago, together with the SPD in the red-green government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD). All subsequent governments – the Union and the FDP have kept it.