German MPs and actors from civil society declare: Disarmament is the challenge of our time
On the occasion of the publication of the statistics on world military expenditure in 2017 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) German MPs and members of the peace movement criticized the enormous cost of armament at a press conference of the International Peace Bureau (IPB).
World military expenditure rose to $1739 billion in 2017 with a continuing upward trend. The press conference was one of the events for the Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMs), taking place until May 3rd in 30 countries. The aim of the events is to draw attention to, and ultimately reduce, the excessive global expenditure on the military.
Reiner Braun, co-president of the IPB, emphasized “the 2017 SIPRI statistics shows that the global armament-craze is gaining steam and in particular the US and the NATO states are driving huge levels of spending. The 700 billion dollars spent by the US and more than a trillion by the NATO states, illustrates the huge destruction of human values in favour of preparations for war and an increase in profits for a few defense contractors.”
Marco Bülow, MP for the SPD, criticized how “the defense budget is being increased drastically even though much more money is needed elsewhere. I am convinced that there is no majority in the SPD for NATO’s 2% of GDP target for military spending.”
Kathrin Vogler, MP for Die Linke, said “there is supposedly no money for higher wages, but when NATO calls Mrs. Von der Leyen is ready for the battle. We should spend 20 billion euros on social housing instead.”
Michael Bloss, spokesperson of the BAG Frieden from Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, pointed out that the idea that more arms would lead to more security is wrong and “the ratio of military expenditure to the expenditure for conflict prevention is 50,000:1, there you can see the priorities are wrong.”
Antje Heider-Rottwilm, Church and Peace e.V., emphasized the ecumenical responsibility and criticized PESCO, which “means that the EU is committing to an increase in military expenditure” symbolizing a departure from its role as a peaceful actor.
In addition, the “Disarm! Don’t Arm!” appeal, which actively promotes disarmament, was presented and it was signed by eight Nobel Prize laureates, members of parliament and international union leaders. The appeal calls attention to the fact that “global arms expenditure is higher than at any time since WWII and consumes 35 times the total cost of the entire United Nations system. […] This spending is draining financial resources from vital services. […] No to an increase in military expenditure – disarming is the order of the day!”
Download the press release in German here