It almost seemed as if the Union and the SPD could agree on arming the new generation of drones. But now the Social Democrats are refusing to approve the project.
The SPD parliamentary group had agreed not to agree to arming the Heron TP drone for the time being, but to “discuss it openly and publicly,” defense policy spokesman Fritz Felgentreu said on Twitter. Citing his own credibility, he stated that he would step down as a spokesperson. After lengthy debate and expert hearings, Felgentreu approved the armaments project.
He explained about his position: “Either I support the public and the Bundeswehr, although everyone knows I disagree – not very credible. I’m too stubborn for that. I say that self-critical, not flirtatious.”
SPD party leader Rolf Mützenich joined the publicly expressed concerns of party leader Norbert Walter-Borjans, the Funke media group’s newspapers reported. Mützenich had stated in the group meeting that there had been no “detailed and broad debate” about the armaments project called for in the coalition agreement. The FDP and Greens had already dismissed criticism of the lack of debate as inapplicable and asked the SPD whether or not to decide on armaments.
Fear that armed threats lower the inhibition threshold
According to the report, Mützenich said, according to participants, there is no doubt that “armed and unarmed drones can provide further protection to soldiers on duty”. But we also know from practice that armed drones can quickly lower the barrier to military violence. Mützenich pointed out to SPD MPs that the massive use of drones by Azerbaijan had a decisive impact on the South Caucasus conflict with Armenia. Many countries would conclude from this that “we also need these weapons”.
In the evening, the Ministry of Defense distributed a quote from Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU), who stated the lack of armaments: “We negligently endanger the lives of soldiers and I want to change that.”
The left welcomed the decision of the SPD group. “Reason and good arguments have prevailed in the SPD,” said deputy party chairman Tobias Pflüger. “I hope this will make it impossible to arm the Bundeswehr drones in the future.”