Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) takes effect today. Russia is thus destroying a further pillar of our European security and arms-control architecture that aimed to limit conventional armament in Europe. As a result of Russia’s withdrawal, the further implementation of the CFE Treaty loses most of its security and arms-control benefit, as the Treaty’s core objective, namely to ensure a balanced conventional forces potential in Europe, cannot be achieved without Russia.
As a consequence, the Federal Government, in close consultation with its Allies in NATO, has decided today that the Federal Republic of Germany will suspend the CFE Treaty. In doing so, Germany and its Allies are expressly not withdrawing from the CFE Treaty. Should Russia change its conduct, the CFE Treaty can be re-implemented.
The Federal Government, like its Allies in NATO, remains committed to Europe’s security. This also includes commitment to one of the central principles of the CFE Treaty, namely effective arms control for conventional armed forces in Europe. Germany is thus willing to continue certain measures of the CFE Treaty, such as data sharing, with interested European countries. Furthermore, the Federal Government intends to continue upholding the national ceilings for the arms systems covered by the CFE Treaty.
The CFE Treaty is a legally binding international treaty that was concluded in 1990 by the states that were members of NATO or the Warsaw Pact at that time. Its aim was to create a secure and stable balance of conventional armed forces in Europe and to eliminate the capability to launch surprise attacks or large-scale offensives. To this end, the number of conventional heavy weapon systems (battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, artillery systems, combat aircraft and attack helicopters) and personnel strength were limited and information exchange with a comprehensive inspection regime was set up. In response to Russia’s withdrawal and in close consultation with the NATO member states, the Federal Government decided on 7 November 2023 to suspend the CFE Treaty.