German arms export policy: extension without reason and compensation

With no surprise at all, the German Government, after two attempts, has taken the decision of extending the embargo on KSA for another six-month period (until the 31th of March, 2020). This regime tends to be permanent for it lasts since November 2018. As long as the war in Yemen rages, the position of Berlin will not change.

 

This regime includes only pure German items & systems and means:

 

  • No new export license is examined;
  • No new export authorization is given;
  • No delivery will be supported by the Government, even for already-issued export licenses & delivery authorizations (i.e, the PBs of Lürssen);

In compensation, the German Government has eased the regime of German components integrated into European systems.

For the programs in co-operation or in sub-contract (Typhoon, A330 MRTT, Meteor AA missile, COBRA,…), the licenses having expired will be extend for one year (from the 31th of December, 2019 to the 31th December of 2020, the agenda of the previous regime running till the end of this year). BUT, again, the Government will negotiate with its partners to avoid that programs jointly produced (or having a German  components) would be used in Yemen and that during the one-year period no new military item coming from these common programs would be exported to KSA and the UAE. The new regime has also the same conditions as the previous one (text below):

« Ausgelaufene Gemeinschaftsprogramme und die dazugehörigen Sammelausfuhrgenehmigungen mit Bezug zu Saudi-Arabien und den VAE werden um weitere neun Monate bis zum 31. Dezember 2019 unter der Maßgabe verlängert, dass in diesem Zeitraum mit den Partnern die vorgeschriebenen Konsultationen stattfinden.

Die Bundesregierung wird sich in den Konsultationen gegenüber den Partnern dafür einsetzen, dass die die gemeinsam produzierten Rüstungsgüter im Jemen-Krieg nicht zum Einsatz kommen und dass während der neunmonatigen Verlängerung keine endmontierten Rüstungsgüter aus diesen Gemeinschaftsprogrammen an Saudi-Arabien und die VAE ausgeliefert werden.

Den beteiligten Unternehmen wird zur Auflage gemacht, dass sie gegenüber den Vertragspartnern darauf bestehen, dass in diesem Zeitraum keine endmontierten Rüstungsgüter an Saudi-Arabien und die VAE ausgeliefert werden.”

The German companies involved in these programs (Airbus, MBDA, Thales, Hensoldt, …) should made this policy clear to their foreign partners to avoid any export of complete military item to KSA or the UAE.

In conclusion, the attacks on oil refineries have no impact at all on the position of Berlin, still demanding to the peace in Yemen before any ease in its export policy.

This is all but surprising for two reasons:

  • The coalition contract is the sole compass of the current Government. Page 149 (lines 7033 to 7047), it contained all the policies currently led by the coalition (update of the export guidelines, no more export licenses to the countries at war in Yemen, harmonization of the European policy towards arms ‘export). These three main recommendations have been strictly followed since:
    • « Wir schränken die Rüstungsexporte weiter ein, schärfen die Rüstungssexportrichtlinien aus dem Jahr 2000 und reagieren damit auf die veränderten Gegebenheiten. Ergänzend zu den Kleinwaffen-Grundsätzen vom Mai 2015 streben wir weitere Restriktionen an»; the update of the main guidelines of export policy (see our analysis) has been achieved exactly with these principles in sight;
      1. Extension of the number of countries considered as ‘authoritarian’;
      2. Prohibition of any sale to these countries, even defensive systems;
    • « Auf dieser Basis streben wir eine gemeinsame europäische Rüstungs-exportpolitik an und wollen den gemeinsamen Standpunkt der EU fortentwickeln» : the current European debate over a ‘European’ export license, the intention of reviewing the arms’s treaty : all this is encouraged by Berlin to avoid a national debate.
    • « Die Bundesregierung wird ab sofort keine Ausfuhren an Länder genehmigen, solange diese am Jemen-Krieg beteiligt sind. »: the current regime sticks to this recommendation;

 

  • The current political equation in Berlin: the weaker the SPD is, the stronger the party is, simply because Mrs. Merkel cannot rule with it. The President of the SPD Group in the Bundestag, Mr. Rolf Mützenich, is a strong opponent to any arms’s export. As long as the current coalition rules, no change in the course of the export policy is to expect.
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