On December 17, the annual arms export report of the Joint Conference Church and Development (GKKE) was presented at a federal press conference in Berlin. The first year of the German government's application of its Political Principles on Arms Exports is sobering and disturbing, stated Prelate Dr. Karl Jüsten, the Catholic chairman of GKKE: "It is marked by a growing gap between restrictive rhetoric and anything but restrictive practice. What we are currently observing raises serious doubts about the political will of the German government to pursue a responsible restrictive arms export policy," Jüsten said, referring to arms deliveries to numerous supporters of the conflict parties in Libya. The GKKE therefore renews its call for an arms export control law to create a transparent and reliable basis for a restrictive arms export policy.
Developments at the European level also require increased attention, as Prelate Dr. Martin Dutzmann, the Protestant chairman of GKKE, made clear. For example, "strengthening measures" for police and security forces in third countries can be financed within the framework of the European Peace Facility. In this context, Dutzmann said, the danger that armaments supplied by the EU will be used against the local population in the recipient state must be ruled out. "Decisions on equipment assistance from the Peace Facility must therefore be taken transparently and be subject to broad scrutiny by the European Parliament," Dutzmann stressed.
Dr. Simone Wisotzki, chairwoman of the GKKE specialist group on arms exports, underlined that the approval values for arms exports in 2019, worth 8.02 billion euros, have reached a new record high. From GKKE's point of view, the high share of arms exports to third countries is particularly problematic. Compared to 2018, the authorizations in 2019 have increased by almost one billion to 3.53 billion euros. "This underlines once again that exports to third countries have become the norm. GKKE calls on the German government to adhere to its self-imposed principles and to stop supplying weapons of war to third countries without exception, unless it can actually provide a plausible foreign and security policy justification in a few individual cases," Wisotzki said.