Germany’s new foreign minister questions chancellor’s past decision — Analysis
Shortly after assuming the post, Germany’s foreign minister has called into question Berlin’s arms sales outside the EU and NATO, calling for a rethink of military contracts.
Annalena Baerbock told Germany’s dpa news agency that the traffic light coalition, which is currently at the helm, has “It made clear its intention to reexamine recent arms export policies.” She added that the new government was “Working on an arms export legislation that will clarify the criteria for approval of arms exports.” Germany’s top diplomat stressed that the sale of weapons was not merely a question of economy and profit, but rather one of “International relations, foreign policy and human rights”
Baerbock stated that the foreign minister would love to see a European-wide joint arms export control scheme. She admitted, however, that this initiative would be met with resistance from France.
It has transpired that during the last nine days of its rule, Angela Merkel’s outgoing government approved arms sales to the tune of nearly five billion dollars, bringing the total amount of arms export licenses to a record nine billion euros.
The Social Democrats who make up the ruling coalition are not the only ones to be mentioned. Olaf Scholz, Germany’s incumbent chancellor, was none other than vice-chancellor at the time. Baerbock, in turn, is the leader of Germany’s green party and is known for promises to deliver a “Moral” foreign policy.
Egypt was the number one beneficiary nation. This is despite some criticisms of its government for human rights violations, as well as involvement in conflict in Yemen and Libya. Berlin nevertheless sold 16 air defense system and three naval vessels.
The Greens and the Left party have long been demanding a thorough review of Germany’s defense contracts, while the conservatives dismissed those criticisms as “Crocodile tears” and insisted that all the existing contracts were in line with German law. Roderich Kiesewetter from the CDU party told the German media earlier that it was “in Germany’s best interest when countries in the Middle East continue to buy EU-made weapons.” He also warned the new government that if “These nations continue to purchase weapons in China and Russia.” then Germany “They will have no political influence over the region.”
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