The head of European aerospace giant Airbus, Thomas Enders, lashed out at what he saw as Germany's risk aversion in matters of defence policy in a magazine interview Wednesday.
"There's a tendency in this country to duck away and hide behind partners," Enders told Cicero in a pre-release of interview to be published in its latest edition on Thursday.
In the wide-ranging interview, Enders hit out at the small size of German defence spending, government restrictions on arms trading and Berlin's demands regarding the A400M military transporter.
"No one is more committed than we Germans when it comes to talking about the need for a common defence architecture," the Airbus chief said.
"But as soon as it becomes concrete, then we all too frequently shrink back, citing national sensitivities," he said.
"This is not tenable in the long term in a country as big as ours," Enders said.
"How can there be a European defence worthy of that name when the economically strongest country in the centre of Europe does not shoulder responsibility and share the leadership in defence and make a suitable contribution," he asked.
In an interview earlier this month, the Airbus chief had already complained about the low defence spending in Germany, which amounts to 1.09 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 1.52 percent in France and a long way off the target of 2.0 percent laid down by NATO.
Enders, who took over as Airbus chief executive in June 2012, complained about the demands Berlin was making with regard to the A400M military transport aircraft.
Germany is scheduled to receive its first plane "at the end of November," while France already has five.
Furthermore, the government of Angela Merkel is demanding a lower price and wants to decide on deliveries on a case-by-case basis, according to German newspaper reports.
The French were "a lot more pragmatic and ready to act than the Germans," Enders complained.