Annual statistics 2021: German arms exports for nine billion euros

Status: 01/18/2022 2:43 p.m

The former federal government approved arms exports for a good nine billion euros in 2021 – more than ever before. Buyer country number 1 was Egypt. The traffic light coalition now wants to quickly develop stricter export laws.

Last year, the federal government approved arms exports worth 9.35 billion euros – more than ever before. In 2020, on the other hand, it was only 5.82 billion. This emerges from the provisional annual statistics published by the Federal Ministry of Economics.

The previous high for arms export licenses comes from 2019 with 8.015 billion euros. Last year it was exceeded by more than one billion euros.

Many approvals in the last few days of office

Of the 9.35 billion euros, 9.04 billion go back to approvals from the old federal government of the Union and SPD. In the first three weeks after taking office on December 8, the new federal government of SPD, Greens and FDP only allowed exports for 309 million euros.

It had already become known in December that the old federal government had approved arms exports worth 4.91 billion euros in office in the last nine days alone. At this point, she was only in office as an executive and was therefore not required to make any more far-reaching political decisions.

Of the total of 9.35 billion euros in exports last year, 4.2 billion were weapons of war and 5.1 billion were other armaments. According to the ministry, more than a third of the exports – 3.4 billion euros – went to EU and NATO partner states or to countries that are equivalent to these states.

Egypt – Controversial for human rights violations

By far the largest buyer of German armaments last year was Egypt: exports worth 4.34 billion euros went there. Particularly explosive: Egypt has been criticized for human rights violations and its involvement in the conflicts in Yemen and Libya. The government approved weapons and other armaments worth 4.34 billion euros for the North African country, which was ruled with an iron fist.

According to the Ministry, the USA, the Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, Great Britain and South Korea followed in the list of the largest customers.

Exports are to be made more restrictive

The new federal government provides “a restrictive approach to arms exports,” emphasized the ministry, which has been led by the Greens since December. It will now develop the guidelines for an arms export control law. The Federal Government intends to introduce the new law before the end of this year. “If everything goes according to plan, we will have a first draft law in the second half of the year,” State Secretary for Economic Affairs Sven Giegold told the “taz”.

The traffic light parties had agreed in their coalition agreement to make the export of armaments more restrictive – the Greens in particular had pushed for this. The planned new law should create a “restrictive and clear” basis for export decisions, said the Green politician. In the spring there should be a series of expert hearings on the subject. “I will listen to everyone – the peace movement as well as the armaments industry,” Giegold announced.

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