German President Joachim Gauck, second from left, speaks with a German military officer, alongside his partner Daniela Schadt, left, as they visit German soldiers at a Patriot missile defense unit position April 27 in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, near the Turkey-Syria border. (AFP)
BONN — German arms export licenses increased by around €1.1 billion ($1.49 billion) to around €5.8 billion in 2013, according to information from the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
The “Report by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on Its Policy on Exports of Conventional Military Equipment,” presented today to the federal government, provides a list of all arms exports and export licenses over the previous year.
In 2013, the German government approved 17,280 individual applications for permanent export of arms, about 900 more than in 2012. During the same period, 71 arms export applications for the export were disapproved, 47 less than in 2012.
The share of export licenses granted to countries inside European Union and NATO or countries equated with them was about 38 percent, 7 percentage points lower than in 2012. Around 62 percent of the export licenses accounted for third countries, about 7 percentage points higher than in 2012. A high proportion resulted from approvals for exports to Algeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
However, according to the report, the actual war weapons exports in 2013 declined slightly by €13 million and amounted to €933 million. The share of these exports in the total exports of the German economy was 0.09 percent, the same level as in 2012.
While he did not present the report himself, Siegmar Gabriel, the social-democratic federal minister for economic affairs and energy, stressed that the report comprises the period of the former conservative-liberal Cabinet. The politician favors a more restrictive export policy.
“The development here in Germany toward even more restrictive export regulations on weapons exports is a cause for concern,” said Georg Wilhelm Adamowitsch, managing director of the Federation of German Security & Defence Industries.
“Germany has already created in the past the most stringent regulations for the export of weapons of war and other military equipment, which apparently are getting interpreted more closely by the current federal government.
“There are still the War Weapons Control Act, the Foreign Trade Law and the Political Principles of the federal government in approving arms exports in conjunction with a case-by-case basis decision-making practice,” said Adamowitsch.
However, this 15th arms export report is also the earliest ever. That way the new federal government wants to achieve another step toward greater transparency on its arms export policy. Another recent measure of Gabriel has been introducing a process to more promptly inform the parliament after the meetings of the Federal Security Council on arms exports approvals.