Berlin wants to limit sensitive military tenders to German companies

BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel’s government announced on Wednesday that it would restrict tenders for the procurement of sensitive weapon systems to German companies, a protectionist measure taken by a Federal Chancellor who has decidedly opposed such barriers.

In a strategy paper that comes into force immediately, the government announced that it would extend the scope of the applicable regulations to include naval vessels and electronic combat technologies.

So far, the government has had limited offers for submarines to German defense companies. The expanded strategy partly aims to make the local defense sector more competitive.

The draft provides that if the requirements of the Bundeswehr are not met by German armaments companies, tenders for competitors from the European Union are possible.

“We want to maintain and support the development of strategically relevant core defense capabilities in both Germany and the EU,” said Economics Minister Peter Altmaier.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservative legislature supported Tuesday’s proposal to restrict foreign 5G mobile network providers to address concerns from critics who view Chinese leader Huawei as a threat to national security.

Under pressure from US President Donald Trump, Germany plans to achieve a late distribution of defense spending as agreed by the NATO military alliance, failing to meet a 2024 target.

After the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula by Russia in 2014, NATO leaders agreed to spend the equivalent of 2% of their economic output on defense by 2024.

Currently, only seven NATO countries achieve or exceed this goal – the United States, Great Britain, Greece, Poland and the three Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The Bundeswehr will tender two armored ships, which are to be built by German shipyards according to the new rules.

(Reporting Christian Kraemer; Writing by Joseph Nasr; editorial by Kevin Liffey)

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