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Gabriel radically slashes weapons exports

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Gabriel radically slashes weapons exports
Photo: DPA
09:12 CEST+02:00
The German government significantly cut back on the licenses it gave for weapons sales in 2014, fulfilling a promise from vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel to be more rigorous in arms sales.

In 2014, the grand coalition headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) gave licenses for weapons exports amounting to a value of €3.97 billion.

In the previous year, the government had issued export licenses for sales in the region of €5.85 billion, reports Die Welt.

Basing its figures on a pre-disclosed copy of the government's weapons contracts report, the conservative daily say that the value of sales in 2014 was the lowest in seven years.

The paper further reports that a large portion of the overall value of sales was for ships and submarines which, according to the report, “are meant for the purpose of coastal defence and fighting piracy and are therefore nor connected to infringements of human rights.”

Particularity pronounced was the reduction in the sales of handguns.

“The issuance of licenses for handguns in 2014 resulted in a sales value of €47.43 million and as such is almost half the amount of the previous year,” wrote the civil servants from Gabriel's economics ministry, who compiled the report.

In 2013, the federal government exported handguns amounting to a value of €82.63 million. Hand weapons, it was stated in the report, “are the most significant cause of casualty” of all German arms exports.

In March the government agreed upon a new law restricting the sale of handguns abroad.

The report offers an overview of the arms export policy of Gabriel, head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). At the beginning of his time in office in 2013, he declared it his intention to make arms export licenses much more restrictive.

According to the report, the government rejected 100 applications for licenses in 2014. In the previous year it rejected 71 applications.

This article has been updated to reflect the correct values of weapons exports.

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