Friday

15th Dec 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.

Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap

Mateusz Morawiecki has indicated he will stay on a collision course with the EU on judicial reform, despite EU Commission threats of sanctions.

Analysis

EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states

Brexit will dramatically change the balance between EU members states that have the euro and those that don't. The thinking on the future of the eurozone is done at EU-27 level - but opposing camps will have to be reconciled.

Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap

Mateusz Morawiecki has indicated he will stay on a collision course with the EU on judicial reform, despite EU Commission threats of sanctions.

News in Brief

  1. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  2. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  3. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  4. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  5. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont
  6. French central bank lifts 2017 growth forecast
  7. EU leaders set to move Brexit talks on to next stage
  8. EU leaders confirm support for two-state solution

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  2. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  3. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states
  4. EU asylum debate reopens old wounds
  5. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  6. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  7. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  8. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU