Mr. Jürgen Grässlin, Freiburg
Regarding Item 3 of the Agenda:
»The actions of the members of the Board of Management are not to be ratified.
In dulcet tones, the Daimler management emphasizes the noble goal of ‘understanding between different cultures’ (see Social Responsibility chapter in Daimler Annual Report 2008, page 112 f). Such goals emerge as hollow phrases in view of the fact that Daimler AG is the biggest shareholder in the armaments giant European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) with a stake of 15%. Daimler AG has taken over another 7.5% of the voting rights through a consortium of 15 investors. In 2008, EADS posted annual revenue of €43,265 million (see www.eads.com).
According to the 2008 almanac of the renowned Stockholm peace research institute SIPRI, with armaments sales of $12,600 million, EADS is the world’s seventh-largest exporter of weapons and the second-largest in Europe. Daimler/EADS also profit from dealings in death through holdings in guided-missile producer MBDA (16th place), the world’s leading manufacturer of military helicopters Eurocopter (21st place) and a producer of military satellites EADS Astrium (46th place) (see SIPRI almanac 2008, table 6A 2 ‘The 100 biggest armaments producing companies in 2006’).
The product range of Daimler/EADS and the companies in which they hold equity interests covers the production of warplanes and military helicopters as well as cluster-munitions launchers and carrier systems for atomic weapons. I would like to take this opportunity to expressly emphasize that EADS is the last remaining European group that produces carrier systems for weapons of mass destruction!
In the past two years, Daimler/EADS have been very ‘successful’ with their 25% military involvement, particularly with armaments orders and exports: LUH helicopters have been delivered to the warring US forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan, Saudi-Arabia has ordered refueling aircraft of the type A330 MRTT and has ordered the immense number of 72 Eurofighter warplanes.
The management of the EADS Eurocopter division has ‘identified the defense market as a growth area.’ The coming generation of multipurpose military helicopters of the type NH90 will be produced in series for export. The ‘successes’ of the light multipurpose helicopter LUH and the Tiger battle helicopter ‘are to be further developed.’
Furthermore, EADS has won an invitation to tender of the Indian Ministry of Defense for modern light helicopters of the type AS 550 C3 Fennec. This helicopter is suitable for deployment in warlike conflicts with Pakistan in the Kashmir region.
In September 2008, the Indian Defense Ministry invited a further tender from EADS. The Indian Navy is to be supplied with modern multipurpose helicopters, probably of the type NH90 NFH.
For the new military transport airplane A400M, orders have been received from Europe, South Africa and Malaysia. Thanks to the offensive strategy of armaments exports and ‘the boom in the global helicopter market,’ Eurocopter has been able to post ‘new records for deliveries and new orders.’ EADS smugly announced that the export ratio is ‘a remarkable 51 percent.’
The armaments group MBDA also has a leading position in the world market; EADS is its main shareholder with 37.5 percent of the equity. MBDA is further extending its position as ‘the world’s leading supplier of guided-missile systems.’ ‘Export orders for surface-based antitank missiles have been received from the Middle East and other regions,’ rejoiced EADS.
Due to these and many other armaments exports, the Critical Daimler Shareholders (KAD), Arndtstraße 31, 70197 Stuttgart, Tel. 0711-608396, (see www.kritischeaktionaere.de and www.juergengraesslin.com) are expanding their activities against Daimler’s involvement in cluster munitions with the new action campaign ‘We don’t buy Mercedes: boycott armaments exports!’ (see www.wir-kaufen-keinen-mercedes.de). KAD is supported by the German Peace Association - United Opponents of Military Service (see www.dfg-vk.de), the Peace Center in Braunschweig, the church peace organization Living Without Armaments (ORL), the German section of the Pax-Christi movement, the Armaments Information Office (see www.rib-ev.de), the Workshop for Violence-Free Action/Baden (WfgA) and the Center for Militarization.
With the armaments exports of Daimler/EADS, the self-set goal of ‘understanding between different cultures’ is being absurdly strived for on the battlefields of the world. It is mainly civilians who die in combats involving Daimler weapons. In the future, revenue is to ‘significantly expand due to growing demand for military and paramilitary export markets.’ The main responsibility for the export of Daimler weapons is borne by the Daimler Board of Management and its Chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche – Germany’s biggest arms dealer.’”