Thursday

19th Sep 2019

EU countries outgunned on arms trade

Arms sales to European countries have fallen by over 20 percent since the financial crisis, according to a report released on Monday (18 March).

An annual survey by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a Swedish think-tank, indicates that European countries are being outstripped by Asia on the military front.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Asian countries are closing the gap on arms (Photo: Defence Images)

Overall, international transfers of major conventional arms grew by 17 percent between 2003-2007 and 2008-2012, with Asia and Oceania taking 47 percent of arms imports.

In contrast, deliveries to European countries declined by 20 percent as governments attempt to make cuts to national defence budgets.

Crisis-hit Greece, one of the EU's biggest arms importers prior to the financial crisis, has fallen from 4th to 15th in the bloc's list of arms buyers.

Deep cuts to Greek defence spending were one of the preconditions for the country's multi-billion rescue package.

Meanwhile, SIPRI says that other member states, including Portugal and Spain, are bidding to sell military aircraft that they no longer have the money to maintain.

Mark Bromley, a SIPRI analyst commented that "with the financial crisis in Europe, the withdrawal from Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan, we can expect to see Europe trying to export a considerable volume of surplus military equipment."

The US comfortably remains the single largest exporter of weapons, accounting for 30 percent of worldwide arms sales between 2008-2012.

Its former Cold War adversary Russia is responsible for 26 percent of sales, while Germany and France are third and fourth with 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

The UK fell out of the top five for the first time since records began in 1950, with China taking its place.

In a statement, SIPRI said this was the first change to the top five sine the end of the Cold war.

Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program, noted that "recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier."

He added that China’s rise is primarily driven by “large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan.”

EU arms trade booming despite crisis

Firms in the UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Europe's own European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company made around €75 billion from selling weapons in 2010.

Opinion

A new Commission for the one percent

We are only baffled by how nakedly Ursula von der Leyen's commission represents the very crisis affecting the EU. These commission nominees can expect their toughest questioning yet, they must be held accountable to those they should be representing.

Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he is not emotionally attached to the Irish backstop, but workable solutions are required to keep the peace on the island.

Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra

The German federal government has passed a blockchain strategy designed to unlock the potential of this new technology, in both Germany and Europe, and prevent the risks associated with its implementation.

News in Brief

  1. EU adds €100m to research and Erasmus budgets
  2. Ambassador: UK Poles should 'seriously consider' leaving
  3. Trump's UK ambassador stirs up anti-EU feeling
  4. Brexit chaos is lesson to other EU states, ECB governor says
  5. EU condemns Israel's latest land grab
  6. Scotland to keep some laws aligned with EU after Brexit
  7. Spain to hold fresh election in November
  8. Turkey ups pressure on visa-free entry into EU

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Podcast

Trumpworld In Europe

Pastors and plutocrats are sponsoring an ultra-conservative agenda in Europe. Many of them have links to Donald Trump.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. A new Commission for the one percent
  2. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'
  3. Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra
  4. Revanchist Russia continues to rewrite European history
  5. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  6. These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission
  7. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  8. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us