Study finds ways to improve arms control in Germany

A new study conducted by researchers from the Bonn International Center for Conversion found several suggestions for improving arms control in Germany, the BICC said on Tuesday.

While arms exports are high on Germany's political agenda, the BICC said the democratic control of arms exports is rather weak. Most decisions on arms control are made behind closed doors and released to the public after a significant delay. The study found that the German Parliament and public can gain a lot from more transparency in arms exports.

Researchers from the BICC looked into the question of how public and parliamentary control of arms exports can be improved by evaluating procedures in the U.S., Sweden, the Netherlands and Great Britain. The team sought out ideas that could be applicable to Germany.

The authors suggested that Germany put legal avenues in place to improve public debate, such as be introducing the right of associations to begin legal proceedings. The study also suggests a review of the federal government's arms exports report to achieve more transparency.

Additionally, the study suggests a stronger obligation of the German government to explain its reasons for arms export decisions. To achieve this, the government would need to explain to the Bundestag, Germany's central body for continuous and regular democratic control of arms export decisions, the security and foreign policy goals it is pursuing with a given arms export agreement.