On 26 October the European External Action Service (“EEAS”) launched the highly anticipated searchable online database containing the annual arms export data of all EU Member States. Member States have been reporting on their arms exports in an EU annual report since 1999, but until today this data has only been published in a cumbersome PDF file in the Official Journal of the EU. In the new online database, the arms export data as from 2013 are now visualized in a clear and user-friendly manner. In addition, the data can also be exported from the database, for those who want to conduct profound analyses of the reported figures.
The searchable online database is one of the major achievements of the latest review of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, the EU's main instrument on arms exports. This review was carried out in 2018 and 2019 in the EU Working Party on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM). For Belgium, the Working Party includes representatives of both the federal government and the regions. Tom Nijs, the expert of the Flanders Department of Chancellery & Foreign Affairs, acted as spokesperson for Belgium during the review process and was also appointed by the Working Party as pen-holder for the review of the provisions on transparency and information exchange. The launch of this searchable online database was a priority for Flanders, in line with the particular attention that Flanders pays to transparency in the international arms trade.
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