The bitter dispute between the CDU/CSU and the SPD over an extension of the export ban on rustic goods for saudi arabia is dragging on for a long time.
Just four days before the self-imposed deadline for a compromise, an attempt by the secretly meeting federal security council to reach an agreement failed on wednesday in the chancellor’s office in berlin.
The committee, headed by chancellor angela merkel (CDU), adjourned its deliberations to an unspecified date. The search for a solution should first be continued at the party level.
In november, following the death of saudi government critic jamal khashoggi, the german government put all deliveries of rations to saudi arabia on hold – including those already approved. The export ban has already been extended twice, most recently until 31 december. March.
SPD leader andrea nahles is now in favor of a new extension of six months. The union is strictly against it. The main reason for this is the massive spoiling of the alliance partners france and great britain. They criticize the fact that european community projects are affected by the export ban and accuse germany of jeopardizing european cooperation in the field of defense.
Problems in germany, too: several rustic companies reserve the right to take legal action against the federal government in the event of further extensions. 300 jobs at the lurssen shipyard in wolgast in mecklenburg-vorpommern are among those affected by the export stop.
In recent days and weeks, several attempts to reach an agreement between the coalition parties have failed at different levels. In addition to merkel, the security council includes eight federal ministers, three of them from the SPD. At first, there was no information about what the participants were talking about. Nothing is united before everything is united, it merely hammered out.
It is conceivable that the coalition partners will agree to abandon the total blockade and allow those exports for joint projects in which the share of german components does not exceed 10 to 20 percent, depending on the total volume. The french and british allies, who were upset about the export ban, were thus reassured. According to dpa information, however, the union definitely wants to relax or lift the export ban even on purely german exports.
However, SPD deputy leader ralf stegner reaffirmed his party’s tough position after the failed security council meeting. "We do not want any exports of rustic products to crisis regions and dictatorships. That’s what it literally says in the EU election program that the SPD has just adopted," he told the redaktionsnetzwerk deutschland (RND/thursday). "Saudi arabia is undoubtedly a bloody dictatorship, and the regime is also involved in the yemen war. In my view, there is nothing to add to the SPD’s clear position on this issue."
The domestic political dispute was framed on wednesday by two political appointments in berlin. Federal president frank-walter steinmeier accredited the new saudi ambassador prince faisal bin furhan A. F. Al furhan al saud in bellevue palace. French auben minister jean-yves le drian was a guest in the federal cabinet to discuss auben and european policy issues. Government spokesman steffen seibert declined to say to what extent the export ban was discussed.
Before the meeting, aubenminister heiko maas (SPD) described le drian’s visit as a sign "that the franco-german friendship is not only alive, but in a remarkably good shape".
The day before, the french ambassador in berlin, anne-marie descÃ´tes, had given a different impression. In a publication of the federal academy for security policy, she criticized german rhetoric in an unusually undiplomatic way: "the question of arms exports is often treated in germany as a domestic political issue, but it has serious consequences for our bilateral defense cooperation and for the strengthening of european sovereignty."