Before the appearance of Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Defense Committee of the Bundestag, the FDP called for the appointment of a coordinator for arms deliveries to Ukraine. “There has to be someone who does it,” said committee chair Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP) on Friday before the meeting in Berlin. There are currently “a lot of misunderstandings” within the federal government on the subject. “I think you can make one or the other thing a little smoother so that the weapons can be delivered very quickly.”
Two days after the start of the war, the German government decided to supply Ukraine with weapons to fight the Russian attackers. In the meantime, it also authorizes the provision of heavy weapons. So far, it has given the go-ahead for 50 decommissioned Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and seven 2000 self-propelled howitzers – heavy artillery pieces from the Bundeswehr stocks. However, the federal government has received further applications from industry that have not been decided on for weeks. Rheinmetall has offered to supply 88 used but refurbished Leopard 1 main battle tanks and 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
Responsibilities for arms exports are divided between several ministries in the federal government. The Ministry for Economics and Climate Protection of Robert Habeck (Greens) is responsible for the export of industrial armaments. Christine Lambrecht’s (SPD) Ministry of Defense is responsible for deliveries from Bundeswehr stocks. The Foreign Office of Annalena Baerbock (Greens) is also involved because it gives assessments of the situation in the target countries.
The Federal Security Council, which consists of several ministers and is headed by Chancellor Scholz, makes the final decision on sensitive arms exports. It meets secretly, but decisions on arms deliveries can also be made by the members of the council in a so-called circulation procedure. Scholz arrived at the committee just after 8 a.m. on Friday. It is the first time that he is answering questions from the defense politicians of the parliamentary groups.