30 May 2013
Every year EU countries export billions of euros worth of weaponry, ranging from small arms and ammunition to warships and military aircraft. But EU citizens know little about this deadly trade. For the first time, a new web app from Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) makes the existing data clearly and easily available to the public, politicians, civil servants and the media.
CAAT's EU Arms Exports browser uses data compiled by the European Commission and released in annual reports. While the reports are hard to navigate and highly technical, the browser provides a simple interface that allows the user to browse the data in an accessible format and quickly make comparisons between different exporters, destination countries, types of hardware and year.
However, the official data is far from complete and includes some glaring omissions. Though the EU data covers all military equipment, it does not include export licences for "dual-use" equipment, that is equipment that could be used for military or civil purposes, and information on actual deliveries is not provided by several countries including major suppliers Germany and the UK. In some cases, the EU data differs from national reporting.
CAAT's new EU Arms Exports browser, produced in association with the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT), shows all known weapons transfers out of the EU from 1998 onwards, broken down by source, destination and type of equipment.
And this is only the beginning
Open data professionals are invited to a Hack Day in London on June 22 to collaborate in an exciting design challenge with CAAT's growing data sources and expose the international arms trade as never before.
Wendela de Vries from Dutch Campagne tegen Wapenhandel says:
When European citizens want to hold the EU accountable for its arms export policies, information about these exports should be available in an understandable format. As the Commission fails to do this, peace groups decided to provide it through a multilingual web app. It is vitally important that EU campaigners work together to expose the workings of governments and arms companies. This browser gives us a new tool to enable us to disseminate information and develop campaigns across EU borders.
Kaye Stearman from CAAT says:
The UK is one of the EU's, and indeed the world's, largest arms exporters as this tool demonstrates very clearly. In a time of austerity the EU states compete to sell weapons to repressive governments in the Middle East and Asia who then use these weapons to suppress their own populations and build up arsenals against neighbouring countries. This is a betrayal of the EU's stated commitment to democracy and human rights.
The EU arms export browser was developed by Ian Mackinnon of CAAT and jointly published with ENAAT as part of CAAT's commitment to the international movement against the arms trade. The developer and CAAT researcher are available for interview,. For further information please contact CAAT's Media Coordinator, Kaye Stearman on 020 7281 0297 or mobile 07990 673 232 or email press(at)caat·org·uk.