France, Germany break impasse on arms exports
France and Germany agreed on 16 October on an accord governing the export of jointly developed weapons and defence equipment, removing a key stumbling block to their development of next-generation tanks and fighter jets.
‘We have finalised a major, legally binding deal on arms exports to fully complete these programmes,’ French President Emmanuel Macron said at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The two leaders met in the southwest French city of Toulouse, home of Airbus, as well as a major factory owned by Dassault Aviation.
Both companies areworking on the ambitious FCAS project (pictured), which will combine a new fighter plane with drones, satellites and other aircraft to help reduce the EU's long reliance on US planes and equipment.
But Paris and Berlin have not always seen eye-to-eye on weapons sales beyond the EU – and both countries say such exports are crucial for making the new plane and tank projects viable.
France, for example, has maintained its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, while Germany has halted them over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Currently, either country could halt the export of jointly made weapons in case of disagreement on the buyer, a complexity removed by the Franco-German deal, French officials said.
‘It marks the mutual confidence between France and Germany and constitutes the basis of success for common projects like the tank and the future aircraft,’ as well as scores of other joint projects, a French presidency official told AFP.