In 2023, Germany set a new record in arms exports, authorizing €11.7 billion ($12.8 billion) in defense articles, out of which €6.1 billion were weapons. This surge in exports, particularly to Ukraine and Israel, marks a significant shift from Germany’s earlier commitment to restrict arms sales to countries engaged in conflicts or with concerning human rights records. The increase was influenced by the war in Ukraine, with Ukrainian exports more than doubling from the previous year
- Germany’s arms exports reached a record high of €11.7 billion in 2023.
- Significant exports were made to Ukraine and Israel, raising questions about Germany’s self-imposed restrictions.
- The increase in arms exports indicates a shift in Germany’s policy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This unprecedented rise in arms exports reflects a change in Germany’s stance on international arms sales, especially following Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s “turning point” speech post-Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While the German government had previously promised to limit arms exports to war zones or countries with problematic human rights records, the reality of geopolitical challenges seems to have altered these commitments. Other top recipients of German arms in 2023 included Norway, Hungary, the UK, the U.S., Poland, France, South Korea, and Cyprus.