• Germany's news in English

Germany 'plans to relax weapons export rules'

The Local · 15 Jul 2012, 14:37

Published: 15 Jul 2012 14:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Jul 2012 14:37 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Two draft papers drawn up in the Economy Ministry would affect the biggest sectors of the German arms export industry, the magazine said.

The aim would be to “purge foreign trade law” and to “lift special German rules which disadvantage German exporters in comparison to their European competitors,” the papers said.

But a spokeswoman for the ministry said the report was wrong. She said the export of weapons would not be affected by the draft amendments to the export trade rules. Current rules affecting arms would remain in place, she said.

But Der Spiegel said the drafts would mean that exports between European Union states were considered transfers rather than exports, enabling the licensing process to be simplified.

These proposals would harmonise German rules with the less restrictive EU laws, the magazine said – it would make it easier for weapons exporters to sell their products around the world via other countries.

“It used to be the case that the government always stressed that the tougher German rules would remain despite harmonisation within Europe,” said Katja Keul, a Green MP. “Obviously that no longer applies.”

Germany is already the world’s third largest arms exporter, yet just recently joined France, Britain and Sweden to call on the United Nations to draw up a new arms trade treaty with a strong human rights component.

Sunday’s Bild newspaper reported on a new contract between Algeria and Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems for two new frigates complete with helicopters in a €400 million deal which includes extensive training of Algerian soldiers by the German armed forces.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent trip to Indonesia was overshadowed by reports, which the government denied, of a deal to sell up to 100 used German tanks to the country. Indonesian media were reporting on the deal with reference to their defence ministry.

The Sunday Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Keul wrote on her website that the Dutch parliament had rejected a suggested tank deal from the Indonesian government with reference to human rights abuses there.

Story continues below…

Keul complained that the German government made decisions on arms deals without consulting parliament – or even informing it after deals were done.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:45 July 15, 2012 by Englishted
Germany can sell them to anyone because it is reluctant to use its own armied forces to clear up any mess.
14:55 July 15, 2012 by Wobinidan
The economy may be collapsing but there's always money to be made in tools of death. Look at Syria if you want to know what these kinds of weapons get used for.
16:20 July 15, 2012 by Jerr-Berlin
Not nearly sd bad as the US (which has about 80% of the arms marktet)

but just the same.... more money for the war profiteers at the expense of the those "foreignerers" on the other side of the bayonet...
17:34 July 15, 2012 by pjnt
Isn't Germany selling Saudi Arabia 500-800 Leopard II tanks in the near future? How much more lax can the laws get?
19:12 July 15, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Tja. Now that Germany has 'Renegotiated' its Oil Contracts in both Libya and Egypt, those need to be Protected. We can't have a bunch of rock throwing lunatics declaring 'Revolution' every time the wind blows. What do you think this is? A Democracy? Ha.
09:22 July 16, 2012 by raandy
Jerr-Berlin, correct, but the USA gives most of the weapons away, Germany gives nothing away,
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd