Today the European External Action Service has launched an online database on its website that will allow everyone to consult and analyse the data on Member States’ arms exports in a user-friendly manner.
The database contains information on the value, destination and type of arms export licenses and actual exports from Member States, covering the years 2013-2019. The database will be updated on an annual basis.
All data in the annual reports and in the database is provided by Member States. Annual reports are shared publicly through publication in the Official Journal. On 23 October, the Council adopted the Twenty-Second Annual Report on arms exports covering the data for the year 2019.
To improve transparency, the new database offers various graphic representations to all those interested in the value, military equipment and destination of European arms exports.
While decisions on issuing export licenses for military equipment are a clear national competence, the assessment criteria on which national authorities base their decisions are European. They are enshrined in the Common Position 2008/944 CFSP as the EU framework on arms export. The EEAS works together with Member States towards increased transparency and convergence in the implementation of that Common Position. It is essential to uphold European values when exporting arms: strict implementation by Member States of the Common Position on arms export is necessary.
Military weapons have an indispensable role in the preservation of security, freedom and peace, provided they are used in accordance with International Law, including Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law. At the same time, weapons of war are by definition capable of inflicting death and destruction. This means that governments that control such weapons must ensure that they are traded and used in a responsible and accountable way, and prevent their diversion to terrorists, criminals and other unauthorised users. Accountability for arms export decisions can only take place when authorities are transparent. The EU does all it can to ensure that utmost transparency is being upheld and calls upon all other States to do the same.
You can find more information about the EU’s arms export control policy here.