GKKE publishes its Arms Control Report 2023

Simone Wisotzki has worked on the report as a member of the expert group

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In its current arms export report, the German Joint Conference Church and development (GKKE) welcomes the significant decline in arms exports to third countries and calls on the German government to create the announced arms export control law. Simone Wisotzki contributed to the report and wrote the first chapter on dual use goods.

With its Arms Control Export Report the GKKE reaffirms the need for a national arms export control law. In it the GKKE clearly criticizes the fact that the law announced in the coalition agreement “does not seem to be making much progress”. “We therefore urge the Federal Government to present a comprehensive draft law now,” says Prelate Dr Anne Gidion, the Protestant Chair of the GKKE. The 38.7 per cent decline in arms exports in 2022 as a whole, and in particular exports to so-called third countries, is to be welcomed. However: “As pleasing and encouraging as the decline in arms exports to third countries is, the setbacks in terms of reporting and tran­sparency are alarming,” says Gidion. The German government did not present its annual arms export report before the summer break. It is not even available for 2023. “They are creating ambiguity in a complex policy area that urgently needs order and transparency.” The GKKE is therefore calling on the German government to return to the tried and tested practice of presenting its arms export reports before the summer break.

The problems of an increased need for regulation, increased armament dynamics and in­sufficient order and trans­parency are also evident at European level, as Prelate Dr Karl Jüsten, the Catholic Chairman of the GKKE, made clear. “It is quite obvious that the changed security and armaments policy dynamic brings with it a new need for regulation. Against this backdrop, it is basically a good thing that the EU Common Position on arms export controls is due to be revised in 2024. However, GKKE continues to observe with concern that the promotion and strengthening of the European defence industry and arms co­operation has not yet been accompanied by a strengthening of European arms export controls. The review process offers the opportunity to overcome the weak­nesses in EU arms export controls. Harmonisation must not be understood as an adaptation to the laxest export practices,” continued Jüsten.

Dr Max Mutschler, Chairman of the GKKE Arms Exports Section, made it clear that the export of dual-use goods - goods that can have both a civilian and a military use - can also be highly problematic. Sur­veillance technology from EU countries, for example, is very popular with repressive regimes. “The supply of sur­veillance technology from the EU to dictatorships must be stopped as a matter of urgency. The GKKE calls on the German government to set a good example here and not to authorise the export of such technologies to autoc­ratically governed states with poor human rights records,” said Mutschler.