A position paper by the Social Democrats on more restrictive rules for arms exports has caused a divide in the Grand Coalition. The CDU/CSU has rejected a proposal by the SPD to drastically tighten the rules for arms exports. The foreign policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Jürgen Hardt, said that the CDU/CSU had already come a long way towards accommodating the SPD on this issue in the coalition agreement. “It is completely incomprehensible that the SPD is now coming up with such a paper.”
Yesterday, the Social Democrats had agreed on a position paper in which they demanded, among other things, that arms supplies to countries outside the European Union and NATO be severely restricted. Exports to Saudi Arabia would no longer be possible. In addition, if an export licence is revoked, the arms companies themselves should have to pay for the compensation via a risk fund.
Defence manufacturers also criticised the proposal. Hans Christoph Atzpodien, Chief Executive of the Federal Association of the German Security and Defence Industry, said that the SPD was questioning the competitiveness of German industry.
FDP foreign affairs expert Alexander Graf Lambsdorff warned against a damage for Germany’s international reputation. Praise, on the other hand, comes from the Green Party. The SPD has aligned its positions with the Greens, said arms expert Katja Keul.