German MPs and actors from civil society emphasize: Disarmament is the challenge of our time
On the occasion of the publication of the statistic on world military expenditure 2017 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) German MPs and members of the peace movement criticized the enormous armament at a press conference of the International Peace Bureau (IPB). World military expenditure has risen to $1739 billion in 2017 with an upward trend.
The press conference was part of the events for the Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMs), which took place until May 3rd in 30 countries. The events have the goal of drawing attention to the issue of excessive global military expenditure and to lower them.
Reiner Braun, co-president of the IPB, emphasized “the SIPRI statistic 2017 shows that the global armament-craze is gaining steam and in particular the US and the NATO states are advancing gigantic armament. 700 billion for the US and more than a trillion for the NATO states show the huge destruction of values for war and the profit of a few defense contractors.”
Marco Bülow, MP for the SPD, criticized “the defense budget is being increased drastically even though money is needed elsewhere much more. I am convinced: there is no majority for NATO’s 2% goal in the SPD.”
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 wrong priorities.”
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” and symbolizes a departure from its role as a peaceful actor.
Further the up till now unique appeal “Disarm! Don’t Arm!” was presented. It actively promotes disarmament and was signed by multiple 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!”