German defense export permits fall by a third

The German government has approved defence exports worth €4.13 billion euros ($4.9 billion) in the first nine months of 2020, around a third less than the same period last year, according to Economy Ministry data seen by dpa.

Defense export permits during the whole of 2019 made for a total of 8.02 billion euros, marking a record year.

So far this year, the top recipient of German-manufactured arms and defense equipment is Egypt with exports totaling 585.9 million euros, the ministry said in response to a request for information from hard-left party Die Linke.

Arms shipments to Egypt are controversial in Germany due to the North African country’s poor human rights record, as well as its military alliance with Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war.

Egypt has also been accused of sending weapons to Libya, despite UN efforts to enforce an arms embargo to de-escalate that conflict.

Egypt receives submarines from German naval defense manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, the fourth of which was christened with water from the Nile at the company’s shipyard in Kiel two weeks ago, in a ceremony attended by the commander of the Egyptian Navy.

“By making Egypt the top recipient of weapons of war, the government is fuelling the armed conflicts in Yemen and Libya,” said Sevim Dagdelen of Die Linke.