EU figures show crisis-busting arms sales to Greece
Official figures show that EU countries sold Greece over €1 billion of arms at the same time as negotiating its first bail-out back in 2010.
France was by far the biggest seller, with a €794 million aircraft deal, according to recently-released European Council data on arms licences granted by member states. It also sold €58 million of missiles and €19 million of electronics used for aircraft countermeasures and target acquisition.
Pro-austerity advocates the Netherlands and Germany together sold almost €90 million of mostly electronics and ground vehicles. Italy sold €52 million of rifles and aircraft parts, while Spain sold €33 million of military-grade chemicals.
Greece is currently trying to shave every possible centime off its budget, but it still remains one of the biggest arms spenders in the region due to a perceived threat from Turkey.
The then Greek deputy defence minister, Panos Beglitis, in 2010 told Reuters that fellow member states did not put pressure on Athens to buy the arms in order to get the bail-out. “This [large scale arms purchases] has always been the case with these countries. It is not because of the crisis, there is no link,” he said.
But an aide to the then Greek leader, George Papandreou, who asked to remain anonymous, told the news agency: “No one is saying ‘Buy our warships or we won’t bail you out.’ But the clear implication is that they will be more supportive if we do.”
Looking to the Middle East, the 2010 figures tell a tale of EU countries arming their Sunni Muslim allies in the ‘Cold War’ against Shia Muslim enemies Iran and Syria.
EU countries granted €2.5 billion of licences for exports to Saudi Arabia, €1.5 billion for the United Arab Emirates and €1.2 billion for Oman. Sales to smaller Sunni-controlled regimes – Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen – added up to €1.1 billion.
They sold almost nothing to Iran and Syria (barring half-a-million-worth of Greek aircraft parts for Syria’s President Bashar Assad, who buys mostly from Russia). (Further ReadingEUOBSERVER)
There is no money for wages, pensions, medicines and books, but there is money for arms. Especially when they are sold by EU countries, our eager-to-bailout-Greece friends. Friends willing to give loans but only under one condition: Trade “arms” for “bailout”. Citing official EU figures, the website euobserver.com revealed that Eu countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands sold Greece arms worth one billion euro at the same time as they were negotiating the first Greek bailout in 2010.