11 January 2012
Official EU report on arms exports is flawed, incomplete and too late, NGOs say
Anti-arms trade campaigners say that the publication of the "Thirteenth Annual Report on Exports Control of Military Technology and Equipment" covering 2010, raises many questions about the reliability of the data provided and on EU commitment to make arms export control effective.
This important report (470 pages of tables and data) was published on the last working day of the year (Friday, 30 December 2011). The data was neither highlighted on the website of the Council of the European Union (which is responsible for its publication) nor on that of the European Parliament. This suggests that the Report is regarded as a mere bureaucratic necessity, rather than an important document worthy of significant public debate by Member States’ governments or EU Institutions.
Moreover, eight countries (nearly one third of Member States, including two of the world's largest arms exporters, Germany and the United Kingdom) have not provided full data on deliveries, making an accurate analysis of the actual arms exports of EU countries virtually impossible.
The total value of arms export licences in 2010 decreased by 21% compared to 2009 when they reached a record €40.3 billion. Nevertheless, in 2010 they amounted to €31.7 billion, which is close to that of 2008 (€33.5 billion) and is still one of the highest figures since the implementation a common EU arms export policy in 1998.
While the value of arms exports licenced to western countries (principally the European Union and USA) fell, it is worrying is that arms exports to countries of emerging and developing economies ("Global South") soared to € 15.5 billion - almost half of the total. Although the value of arms exports to repressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa fell compared to the record levels of 2009, they were still very high at € 8.3 billion.
The fact that this report was released without publicity on the last working day of the year indicates that when it comes to arms sales the EU has something to hide., said Kaye Stearman of Campaign Against Arms Trade.
In fact, these figures reveal the hypocrisy of countries who like to proclaim their commitment to human rights and democracy yet are more than willing to sell deadly weaponry to abusive and authoritian regimes. EU citizens should tell their governments to stop arms sales to repressive regimes.
According to Article 15 of the EU Common Position on the Export of Military Technology and Equipment, 2012 must see a review of EU arms export policy. Such a review can only be meaningful if it is based on coherent and comprehensive information and on an informed debate.
As European NGOs working on arms export control, peace and human rights, anti-arms trade organisations appeal to the Members of European Parliament to demand a debate on the Thirteenth Annual Report on Exports Control of Military Technology and Equipment” including a thorough analysis of its shortcomings.
- Campaign Against Arms Trade - UK
- Campagne tegen Wapenhandel - Netherlands
- Centre d'Estudis per a la Pau JM DelÓs (JustÝcia i Pau) - Barcelona, Spain
- Foundation for arms conversion and peace research - Bremen, Germany
- Observatoire des armements - France
- Peace Union of Finland - Finland
- Quaker Council for European Affairs - Brussels
- Rete Italiana per il Disarmo - Italy
- Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society
- Tabvla della Pace - Italy
- Vredesactie - Belgium
For further information contact Giorgio Beretta of Unimondo on +39-338-3041742 or email email giorgio beretta. For UK information contact CAAT Media Co-ordinator Kaye Stearman or email email the press officer.
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in the UK works to end the international arms trade. The arms business has a devastating impact on human rights and society and damages economic development. Large-scale military procurement and arms exports only reinforce a militaristic approach to international problems Around 80% of CAAT's income is raised from individual supporters.
2. CAAT is a member of the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT), a grouping of European anti-arms trade organisations, including Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in the UK.
3. A fuller analysis of the report is available from CAAT.
4. "XIII Report on control of exports of military technology and equipment". Previous reports are posted on the Council’s website: