German Chancellor Olaf Scholz shares Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s openness to deliveries of Eurofighters to Saudi Arabia.
“Yes, the Federal Chancellor shares this assessment,” government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said in Berlin on Monday.
Saudi Arabia has taken a “very constructive stance” towards Israel since October 7, Hebestreit said, referring to the day the Islamist militant group Hamas attacked Israel.
“The Saudi Arabian air force, also using Eurofighters, shot down Houthi missiles (from Yemen) that were on their way to Israel. And it is in the light of all these developments that the German government’s position on the Eurofighter must be seen. And this is closely coordinated within the German government.”
Arms exports to Saudi Arabia are controversial due to the human rights situation in the kingdom and the intervention of the emerging military power in regional conflicts.
In July, the German government decided to stop the delivery of Eurofighters to the wealthy Gulf state until the end of the legislative period in late 2025.
The fighter jets are a joint European project in which Germany is involved and therefore has a right of veto on export decisions. They are manufactured in the UK, which would be prepared to supply them to Saudi Arabia. According to unconfirmed reports, 48 jets are involved.
German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck also defended the possible delivery of Eurofighter combat aircraft to Saudi Arabia.
“The Saudi Arabian defence missiles also protect Israel,” Habeck, who is also economy minister, told broadcasters ARD and ZDF.
The peace processes in the region also depended on “Saudi Arabia adopting a favourable stance towards Israel – and that’s what they want to do.”
Habeck conceded that the human rights record of Saudi Arabia still “does not meet our standards at all” but the situation is different to five or six years ago.