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Defence Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD)

Photo: Ronald Wittek / EPA

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) is considering unusual measures to speed up the rearmament of the Bundeswehr. At the non-public part of last week's Bundeswehr conference in Berlin, the minister told assembled generals that he was considering a legally regulated right of first refusal for weapons and other armaments from German production.

Such a regulation could, for example, oblige the German arms industry to offer urgently needed material such as artillery ammunition to the Bundeswehr first, instead of trying to get the highest price on the world market.

The idea is reminiscent of the European Union's approach during the coronavirus pandemic, which secured a right of first refusal on millions of doses of vaccine. Pistorius emphasized at the event that it was still an idea that would have to be examined by lawyers. Recently, the minister had repeatedly demanded that the Bundeswehr be quickly made "war-ready" after several decades of austerity because of the new threat situation.