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How the arms industry is hijacking EU policy

A new report “Securing Profits: How the arms lobby is hijacking Europe’s defence policy by Bram Vranken of the Flemish peace organisation Vredesactie documents the symbiotic relationship between arms industry lobby and the European Union.

Person wearing tie with pictures of weaponry in EU colours

Photo: Vrredesactie

In 2016 the European Union took the unprecedented step of setting up a military research programme worth 90 million euros, the so-called Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR). This is only a first step. For the next ten years, the European Commission proposes the establishment of a European Defence Fund which would allocate more than 40 billion euros to the research, development and procurement of weapons.

These steps signify a fundamental change to the European project. Although arms companies have received EU funding before, this has always happened through the ‘back door’ by way of a security research programme. The establishment of a EU military research programme points towards an unprecedented acceleration in the militarisation of the EU.

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It’s all happening in September

September 2017 is a key month for those seeking to end the arms trade. There are just so many, and such varied, opportunities to highlight the dire consequences of the trade in death and destruction and move towards ending it. Read more »

No EU money for arms!

CAAT’s Ann Feltham reports on arms industry lobbying for EU subsidies, and the campaign to stop it.

anti-militarist EU flag symbolThe European Union had its genesis in the vision of post-World War Two leaders who believed that uniting countries economically would end the bloody wars between European neighbours. Military matters were not part of it, being seen as the province of national governments and not the EU. Today the EU’s founders must be spinning in their graves as cooperation for peace and human rights is undermined and the EU inches into the military sphere.

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Gallery and museum workers vote to oppose arms trade and oil sponsorship

Banner saying "Art for People not Profit"

The last week has seen a significant victory for our campaign to get the arms trade out of public institutions. On Monday 18th May, the Public and Commercial Sector Union (PCS), which represents 5,000 workers in public galleries and museums across the UK, passed two motions at their annual conference in Brighton rejecting the arms trade and oil sponsorship of the cultural sector. Read more »

Time to Act: No War! No Warming!

730timetoactIn his book Capitalist Realism: Is There no Alternative? Mark Fisher sharply argues that when it comes to thinking about changing entrenched social norms and priorities our lives have become dominated by an attitude of resignation and fatalism.

Fisher’s argument can be easily applied to mainstream discourses around climate change and militarism. Just as capitalism dominates the horizon of the possible, talks and ideas for a future without fossil fuels and wars are often rejected as mere utopian fantasy. Indeed, the ‘no alternative’ ideology has such a totalising effect that many seemingly treat ecological catastrophe and the arms trade as facts of nature that simply cannot be reversed, despite hard evidence and rational arguments for the opposite. Read more »

Addressing some misconceptions about the Arms Trade Treaty

Deception in High Places by Nicholas Gilby

Deception in High Places by Nicholas Gilby

In this blog anti arms trade writer and campaigner Nicholas Gilby, author of Deception in High Places – A History of Bribery In Britain’s Arms Trade, analyses misconceptions about the arms trade treaty.

The Arms Trade Treaty came into force on 24 December 2014.  At the time of writing the Treaty has been signed by 131 states and ratified by 61.  I want to try and clear up some misconceptions about the Treaty that have been aired in the commentaries surrounding its the entry into force.

Will the Arms Trade Treaty prohibit the sale of arms which might be used to violate human rights?

The short answer is no.

The Arms Trade Treaty sets out criteria for when arms exports should be prohibited (Article 6) and the criteria which should be used when deciding whether other arms exports should be permitted (Article 7).

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How big business is running the EU

…and how we can help stop it

On May 22 we get to vote for our new representatives in the European Parliament – but who will really decide what the EU does?

Banner outside a conferences venue saying "Arms dealers here today. This is not okay"

Activists from Vredesactie took action at the annual conference of the European Defence Agency where politicians network with arms industry executives.

Corporate lobbyists have taken over European decision-making. We need our new MEPs to stand up and support politics for people, not politics for corporate profit.

That’s why we’re supporting  a Europe-wide campaign to ask those standing for election for the European Parliament to pledge to curb the power of lobbyists. Please contact your candidates today.

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