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23rd Annual Report on Arms Exports launched today (28/9): EU is a transparent and responsible trader in arms


The 23rd EU Annual Report on Arms Exports was adopted by the Council today, informing in detail on arms sales authorised by EU Member States in 2020. It is the fastest annual report adoption until now, within 9 months of the end of the year reported on.


With over 30.000 licenses issued for a license value of almost € 167 billion the EU remains an important exporter of military equipment and technology. 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, and provided they are traded in a responsible manner. Decisions on issuing export licenses for military equipment are a national competence, following an assessment against the eight criteria of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP which includes an assessment of the respect for human rights in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country of international humanitarian law. Over 200 licenses in 2020 were denied by Member States, following case-by-case assessments of license applications. In 2020, the EEAS launched a searchable online database containing the annual arms export data of all EU Member States since 2013. The database offers various graphic representations to all those interested in further details.

The present report also covers activities undertaken by the EU in the framework of outreach to third countries, helping those in setting up arms export control systems and promoting the universalisation and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty. The report is prepared by the EEAS based on data provided by the Member States.

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