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EU arms embargo on Venezuela enables continued sales

On November 13, the European Union adopted an embargo to Venezuela on all arms and on related material that might be used for internal repression. It is meant to underline the EU policy: “The EU calls upon the government to urgently restore democratic legitimacy, including through free and fair elections, and on the opposition to continue engaging in a united manner towards a negotiated... read more >

Controlling cyber technology by Catch-all

Companies do not care what happens with their exported surveillance technology, according to a leading Dutch daily. The paper referred to an investigation of Al Jazeera in the murky world of surveilance exports. Reporter Simon Boazman wondered if it “will it ever be possible for this booming industry to be properly regulated?” The European Commision is trying exactly that, and... read more >

Belgian and Dutch participation in missile defence

The Dutch and Belgian naval forces are deeply integrated. Recently the two countries decided to aim for identical new frigates for an anti-submarine role, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The project is in its early stages. Belgium allocated € 1 billion euro's to the project and the Netherlands € 730 million. The financial difference may reflect that Belgium wants... read more >

War from space

The official headquarters of Airbus can be found in the middle of Leiden, near the oldest university of the Netherlands. In big white washed production halls, robot arms for a space station are hanging in a frame. The well-known Ariane rocket, the European launch vehicle for the European Space Agency satellite launchings, is maintained in Leiden. But also the smaller VEGA rocket, which can bring... read more >

European defence industry: how to define figures?

According to the European Commission (EC), on a webpage summarizing the EU defence industry, total direct employment in the EU defence sector is half a million people. The sector involves 1,350 small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) who are important to the supply chain. Most of these SMEs are located in six EU countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK, the so-called Letter of... read more >

Legislators in court; fighting export permits the judicial way

When an arms company application for an export permit is turned down, the company can appeal to a court. In the Netherlands for example, arms company Thales appealed successfully against the denial of an export license to India in 2005. But what if an arms company is permitted an export license where campaigners fear human rights consequenses? What happens if civil society organisations appeal... read more >

Long road to arms exports transparency, the Dutch case

Last month the Dutch Government published its annual report on arms exports. We tend to think this kind of transparency is normal in the EU, but twenty years ago there was not such a thing as government public information on arms exports. Most information was secret; until 1998 in the Netherlands only total figures were given, divided in exports to NATO and to non-NATO countries. But transparency... read more >

Dutch surplus arms to Jordan

The Dutch government should reconsider its arms export policy to Jordan considering the recent scandals and developments in the region. It should also provide more detailed information on its surplus sales in general, so a more elaborate opinion can be formed by MPs and civil society. Over the past years a constant flow of information has been published by the international media on Western arms... read more >

Component control

 In December 2014 Dutch MP's, Servaes (Labour) and Sjoerdsma (Liberals) published a report called: 'Weapons and principles, ambitions for a reliable and harmonised arms export policy in Europe'. In this report the MP's proposed more EU harmonisation of arms export rules, presuming that this would improve control. Harmonizing the European arms export policy however is a tug-of... read more >

Voice crying in the wilderness

'Better late than never,' wrote an anti arms trade activist from London when the 2014 EU Consolidated report on arms exports finally became public in March 2016. The official presentation to the EU parliament will take place in April. The report was always late, in the recent past it was published in October/November of the following year, partly due to the complicated process of... read more >

European military industry: EU, give us 3.5 billion euros for military research

On 25 February a so-called 'Group of Personalities' (GoP) released the report 'European Defence Research: The case for an EU-funded defence R&T programme'. It argues for the inclusion of military research in the next round of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, the EU instrument for funding research projects. The report was written at the... read more >

Higher defence budget for new submarines

“We were waiting for the call to shoot,” an elderly man told me prior to a meeting on the acquisition of new Dutch submarines (Feb 15, 2016). In 1962 he had been embarked on a submarine when the Indonesians transported troops by sea to Papua New Guinea, at that time the last but contested Dutch colony in Asia. The call did not come and thousands of Indonesian troops entered Papua to... read more >

More, always more..

NATO budgets for arms acquisitions are growing. In the NATO report on 2015 the military treaty organisation states that in 2014, 17.4% of NATO members budgets were used for acquisitions. In 2015 this was 2 percent more, namely 19.7%. Jane's Defence Weekly (Feb. 3, 2016, p. 12) writes that 23 of the 28 allies have increased their spending on new equipment. As NATO still counts for over half... read more >

Dutch missile technology to Saudi Arabia?

Germany "supports the supply of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia," concluded Left Party Bundestag member Jan van Aken in a reaction to the deliverances of components for Tornado and Eurofighter combat aircraft, parts of howitzer and mortar ammunition, and armoured transport vehicles to the Saudi kingdom. The exports were authorized as part of joint projects to which Germany committed... read more >

Figures for action

“Developing nations from 2011 to 2014 received 62% of the value of all international arms deliveries.” It is a text from the annual report 'Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2007-2014,' published December 2015. The newest edition of this annual report appeared almost against expectation. The previous issue was published in 2012; annual was hardly accurate any... read more >

Letterbox arms companies in the Netherlands

Tax evasion and weapon production A few kilometres from the office of Stop Wapenhandel in Amsterdam, many arms companies have financial holdings, part of the financial structures of the world's largest arms sellers. These holdings are using the advantages the Dutch tax system offers on three main issues: * an enormous tax treaty network * a participation exemption, which exempts dividends... read more >

COP21: why climate change is an issue for peace activists

Next month Paris will be the venue of the important COP21 – United Nationals Conference on Climate Change. World governments have to make highly needed binding agreements on action against climate change and thereby limit its already noticeable consequences. Michael T. Klare, professor of Peace and World Security Studies and a renowned specialist on war, energy and climate change, wrote... read more >

Why the Netherlands should not arm the Egyptian navy

While the world is watching Syria, and Europe finally becomes aware of the refugee tragedy that has burdened on Syria's neighbouring countries already for several years, the disaster in Yemen is passing fairly unnoticed. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia and including Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Bahrain intervened in March against a Houthi uprising which drove president Hadi in exile. The fighting... read more >