The longstanding chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, has warned the traffic light coalition against tightening the rules for arms exports. “This would put us on the sidelines again within the EU – and this at a time when EU defense capability and armaments cooperation are of crucial importance,” the former top diplomat told the Tagesspiegel.
“Germany should not go its own way and enforce its own rules against a majority in the EU.” Such a step is also “in contrast to the commitment of the traffic light coalition to more European integration”. The stricter national rules for arms exports served “exclusively to satisfy their own party political interests”.
Ischinger, who is now head of the Security Conference’s board of trustees, spoke out in favor of expanding German arms exports. “It was correct that on February 27 the chancellor declared that we were supplying arms to Ukraine. Further steps in other directions should follow, for strategic reasons,” he said.
If Europe wants to survive in “a world of great power conflicts,” “then we must try to free India, the world’s largest democracy, from its armament policy dependence on Russia,” he said, adding: “Then the delivery of German armaments can be allowed shouldn’t be taboo on the country, on the contrary.”
Before the G7 summit in Elmau, the former State Secretary in the Federal Foreign Office and ambassador sees the West on the defensive. “I see the real purpose of this summit in reaffirming the Western determination to defend a rules-based international order against massive breaches of international law like Putin’s,” he said. “It’s a defensive meeting to defend our values and rules.”
The war in Iraq and Afghanistan had shaken the West’s credibility, said the former close associate of several German foreign ministers. “That’s why the West doesn’t have a particularly good hand in the struggle with Russia and China,” he said. “We’re in a very unfavorable starting position.”
Ischinger defended the cost of 170 million euros for the meeting. “In view of the apparent disintegration of a rules-based international order, every attempt to keep multilateral politics alive and strengthened makes sense,” he explains. “This money is well spent.”