Rede anlasslich des HELISS-Seminars, am – 02.11.2007

Rede anlasslich des HELISS-Seminars, am 02.11.2007

Some of our security and defence policy principles flow from our geopolitical situation.




  Germany is located at the centre of mainland Europe. No other European country has more neighbouring countries than Germany. Our neighbours are almost all members of NATO and the European Union. We have a close transatlantic link with the United States and Canada.


With the end of the Cold War and the political developments afterwards, Germany has gained a significant degree of security. We are grateful for that. And it is fair and accepted to state that today and for the foreseeable future there is no conventional threat to German territory.


But there are various and multifaceted global challenges, risks and dangers, like

  • International terrorism
  • Regional conflicts
  • Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction




 Security Policy Principles


Our Security Policy is guided by universal human rights and the values expressed in the German Basic Law. The national interests can be summarized as follows:

  • preserve freedom, democracy, security and the basic rights for our citizens;
  • assure the sovereignty and integrity of German territory;
  • prevent, whenever possible, regional crises and conflicts that may affect Germany’s security, and to help manage such crises;
  • confront global security challenges, in particular the threat posed by international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
  • help uphold human rights and strengthen international order on the basis of international law.

Germany safeguards its security interests primarily within international and supranational institutions. It plays an active role in shaping the policies of those organizations. In addition, the Transatlantic Partnership, in particular the close relationship with the USA, is of essential importance in achieving overall security.


Another pillar of German security policy is the maintenance of stability within the European area, including active engagement with our neighbours in Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus, Central Asia and the Mediterranean.

Finally, history has led us to the conclusion that peaceful relations with Russia, based on mutual trust, is a necessary precondition for German peace and security.


We do not consider it possible to guarantee security by military means alone. We have to take political, economic, ecological, social and cultural roots of conflicts into account and to respond to them in an adequate way. By its very nature German security policy tries to be preventive in order to avoid conflict in the first place.

Today, no nation can ensure peace, security and prosperity on its own. Therefore, multi-nationality is another guiding principle of German security policy. This principle does not only apply to our civil and military instruments, but also to decision making. We strive for a common situation assessment and a broad consensus on the actions to take in the respective international Organisations like the United Nations, NATO and/or the European Union.




 United Nations (UN)


The United Nations Security Council has prime responsibility for safeguarding world peace and international security. Germany currently provides 8.6 per cent of the regular UN budget and makes additional contributions towards international peace missions as well as the numerous UN sub-organisations and agencies. Germany is currently the third largest contributor to the UN. Every year, more than 256 million Euros are transferred to the UN from the federal budget. Additionally, Germany regularly provides resources for humanitarian relief operations or international peace missions free of charge. At pre-sent the total amount of Germany’s per year contribution to the UN accounts to 692 million Euros.






NATO remains the foundation of common security for both Germany and Europe. It has grown over decades and it has stood the test. Forming the link between two continents, NATO provides a unique range of political and military instruments for peacekeeping and peace restoration.






The member states of the European Union account for a quarter of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, a third of world trade, 50% of the UN budget and 55% of global development aid. The European Union is the world’s largest economic and political partnership of democratic states. Therefore, it is natural that the European Union should play an active part in foreign and security policy issues to match its economic weight in the world.

The establishment of the European Agency for procurement, research, and military capabilities is an important step to enhance the necessary European military capabilities and to do so in an economic way.


The Bundeswehr has specialised and differentiated its forces to enable them to meet the specific requirements of the present political situation. They are trained and equipped accordingly.

  • 35.000 Response Forces are primarily designed to conduct combined, joint and network-based operations in a very complex and high-intensity environment. This requires the most modern military equipment.
  • Stabilisation Operations will be the majority of the operations conducted by our troops. 70.000 Stabilisation forces will contribute to peaceful, political solutions of conflicts and for nation-building tasks.
  • The 147.500 Support Forces will provide the necessary support for ongoing operations of our Response and Stabilisation Forces. They will, for example, ensure logistics, run depots, provide military police forces and Command and Control capabilities.


With this structure of forces we want to

  • maintain our international commitments with some 15.000 troops for the NATO Response Force
  • fulfil our share of the European Headline Goal with up to 18.000 soldiers. This includes our contribution to the European Battle Groups Concept.
  • maintain our commitment to the United Nations Standby Arrangements System with roughly 1.000 forces.
  • be able to employ up to 14.000 soldiers in Stabilization Operations in up to 5 different operational areas.


With currently a total of over 7.000 soldiers deployed in 10 operations and missions worldwide, the German Armed Forces is one of the largest force contributors to international military operations.


Furthermore, we will have some 1.000 troops available for Rescue and Evacuation Operations which are conducted under national command and control.


And, of course, all of our forces will be used for their main task – the protection of Germany and its citizens – whenever necessary.


All this requires equipment that is efficient and suitable for the new and most probable tasks. Some examples of major equipment which is currently being procured or will be procured in the near future are the following:

  • the Eurofighter, providing the German Luftwaffe a state of the art multipurpose swing role Aircraft of the Forth Generation,
  • the Modern maritime weapon systems like Submarine 212 class, Frigate 124 class and – as you will be briefed later – the 125 class Frigate following a new concept of deployment,
  • armored Personal Carriers and Transport Vehicles as Dingo, Boxer and others
  • the new armoured, air transportable Infantry Fighting Vehicle Puma,
  • the Strategic Transport Aircraft A 400M.


The Cooperation with the Hellenic Armed Forces is exemplary. In security and military terms, Germany and Greece have for decades cooperated closely in NATO and the EU. Their excellent bilateral contacts are maintained at a high level through exchanges of officers at the respective national training and staff colleges.


Joint training, as well as joint equipment in some cases, especially as regards the army, contribute to the success of operations and exercises under the auspices of peacekeeping missions, the NATO Response Force and the European Battle Groups. German and Greek forces are currently serving together in several of the world’s crisis areas, for example in Kosovo, Afghanistan and off the Lebanese coast.


In July 2007 German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Athens for talks with Prime Minister Karamanlis. Among other things they discussed defence issues and in particular some of the current armaments programmes. I am confident that Greece remains interested in purchasing the Eurofighter. It goes without saying that the Greek defence industry must be given an adequate share in this project, and I am sure that EADS would increase the Greek share of production if Greece decided to procure this aircraft. We have experience in this field. The scope and complexity of the Greek co-production is remarkable in the case of the Leopard 2/HEL tanks and the Class 214 submarines. The German arms industry has demonstrated that Greek firms can participate in a fair and partner-like way in armament programmes.


Also for the future programme of frigates for the Hellenic Navy, German – and in this case also Greek – naval industries, which join forces in the Hellenic Shipyards, could offer competitive concepts.

The future German Navy class 125 frigate provides a good example for TKMS’s competence in the design and construction of naval vessels. The German Navy itself has ordered already 4 of these frigates.


In the field of land systems, I also don’t need to say much. The cooperation is proven. The German defence industry is considered to be amongst the world’s key players. Let me just mention the Leopard 2 and Rheinmetall. You will hear more about Rheinmetall’s capability and scope of production in the following presentations.



Coming to the end, I would like to stress that every country has to define its own security strategy and organize and equip the armed forces accordingly. It is a national decision. I am convinced that some of the German concepts or even weapon systems might fit the Greek security structure and increase the safety of the citizens of your country. There are many areas of German – Greek military cooperation, in present and future. Whenever your armed forces are looking for solutions for the challenges you are confronted with – Germany is willing to assist and to share its experience and technological state of the art with you.


Thank you.


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