BERLIN Aug 17 One of Chancellor Angela Merkel's
main allies in parliament has called for Europe to adopt common
arms export regulations, saying there would be an increasing
number of European defence companies in future.
Volker Kauder, the floor leader of Merkel's conservatives in
the Bundestag lower house of parliament, said the latest
conflicts showed military capabilities were needed even in the
21st century to preserve international law and protect human
"We therefore need to preserve key areas of defence
engineering in Germany but there aren't enough orders from
Germany's armed forces to ensure that, so more and more European
defence firms will emerge, especially German-French ones," he
said in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
"I think that's also logical and in this context export
regulations for arms must also be harmonised at a European
level," he added.
Kauder said the German Economy Ministry needed to take part
in this. Sigmar Gabriel, the economy minister, recently unveiled
a more restrictive policy on arms exports to sensitive regions.
Kauder said while the discussion would not be easy, given
that there are different views in Europe, it was necessary.
"I can't imagine European armies only buying their weapons
from America or elsewhere in future," he added.
Kauder said creating a joint defence industry could help
France deal with some of its economic problems, adding that the
country "definitely needs functioning industry".
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Stephen Powell)