In Germany, local politics holds up weapons for Ukraine


Europe’s efforts to boost arms production and help Ukraine to fend off Russia’s invasion are facing an unexpected obstacle in a German local government.

The city council in Troisdorf, which has a population close to 80,000, has for the time being blocked plans put forward by a major arms company to expand production locally.

Citing development needs, the “no” by the western municipality near Cologne is calling into question the European Union’s ability to manufacture more weapons at a crucial time.

Earlier this year, the 27-member EU pledged to step up supplies of much-needed artillery shells to Ukraine as Kiev’s forces faced shortfalls.

The mayor of Troisdorf rarely has a role to play in international politics, but the local official was called to account by German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius in parliament in early December for holding up the project.

Recognising the risks, the popular minister urged local and regional authorities to work to speed up the rate of arms production.

“The pressure (…) is great because in Europe and in Germany there is a real bottleneck on ammunition,” Pistorius told MPs.

For weeks, Troisdorf has been at loggerheads with arms giant Diehl Defence, whose local factory produces the ignition devices needed for large quantities of explosives, such as rockets and missile charges.

These parts are used in the manufacture of the Iris-T air defence system, three of which have been delivered by the German government to Ukraine.

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