EU military spending is ‘hidden elephant’ in Brussels and key factor in EU debt crisis, reveals new report

Guns, Debt and Corruption ReportHigh levels of European military spending played a key role in the unfolding EU debt crisis and continues to undermine efforts to resolve the debt crisis, alleges a new report by Transnational Institute and the Dutch Campaign against the Arms Trade.

The report, Guns, Debt and Corruption: Military spending and the EU crisis, demonstrates how military budgets across Europe have been largely protected, at a time of severe social cuts. EU’s military expenditure totalled 194 billion euro in 2010, enough to pay off Italy, Greece and Spain’s annual deficit. The latest data released today by the Stockholm International Peace Institute suggests little change in these overall trends.

The report unveils how high levels of military spending in countries such as Greece, Cyprus and Spain at the epicentre of the euro crisis played a significant role in their debt crises. Much of the military spending was tied to arms sales by creditor countries like Germany and France.

In Portugal and Greece, several major arms deals are being investigated for serious irregularities. Yet creditor countries continue to hawk new arms deals to debtor countries whilst demanding ever more stringent cuts in social services.

The report argues that resolving the debt crisis will require cancellation of the debt tied to corrupt arms deals and a redirection of military spending towards social needs. It highlights research that spending on education and mass transit creates double the number of jobs as investments in defence.

Report author Frank Slijper said: “Global military spending was still at a record €1.3 trillion in 2011 despite the global economic crisis. Even in Europe most countries still spend more than ten years ago. The only austerity that Europe really needs is one imposed on the military and the arms industry.”

“It is time for Brussels and EU member states to publicly acknowledge the elephant in the current EU debt crisis and that is the role of military spending. At a time of harsh cuts in social services, it is morally unjustifiable to spend money on weapons that should be invested in creating jobs and tackling poverty.”

The report Guns, Debt and Corruption has been released in the EU as campaigners in around 30 countries held over 100 events worldwide to protest record levels of military spending and to call for resources to be reallocated to anti-poverty and environmental sustainability programmes. For details of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, see:

Public Meeting on on the Financial Crisis

6.45pm Wednesday 6th June LYCS Community Crèche, Old National School, Lower Rutland Street, Dublin 1

LYCS and ICON in partnership with Bloom invite you to a Public Meeting on the Financial Crisis (with international and local speakers) Chaired by Vincent Browne of TV3.


Speakers will include:

Hernan Mauro Langiotti (Social Activist from Argentina)

Gary Gannon (Activist from North Inner City)

Dr. Andy Storey (University College Dublin)

Noha El Shoky (Drop Egypt’s Debt)

Other speakers to be confirmed.


This event has been requested due to the popularity of the debate on the financial crisis held in November 2011.  For further information call Helena in LYCS at (01) 8230860 Lourdes Youth & Community Services.

New Proclamation, read at Afri Event in Arbour Hill, Easter Monday

25.4.11 Dublin. Actor Donal O’Kelly as a bondholder, reading a satirical version of the 1916 Proclamation, which cedes Irish sovereignty to international bondholders, alongside Andy Storey reading the actual Proclamation at an Afri event at Arbour Hill on Easter Monday. Photo by Derek Speirs



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IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of the Markets and not of the dead generations from whom she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to our interests and strikes for her enslavement to debt. Continue reading “New Proclamation, read at Afri Event in Arbour Hill, Easter Monday”

Campaigners call for debt audit

Press Release, 3 March 2011

A number of prominent Irish academics, writers and activists have backed a campaign to audit Greece’s public debt, amid suggestions that such an audit might also be required in Ireland.  Greek campaigners are calling for an independent and international Audit Commission to find out why the debt was incurred and the uses to which borrowed funds were put.  There is a widespread belief that much Greek debt was used for wasteful or corrupt purposes and that the cost of repayment should not be borne by the Greek people.   Among the Irish figures supporting the Greek debt audit campaign are writer Fintan O’Toole and former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday.  International supporters of the campaign include renowned linguistics professor and writer Noam Chomsky and filmmaker Ken Loach. Continue reading “Campaigners call for debt audit”

What Ireland can learn from the Global South

New Publication from Afri

PRESS RELEASE, 31 December 2010

A campaigning group is calling for the cancellation of Irish bank debt on the grounds that it is unjust and unsustainable, and for a renegotiation of the EU-IMF ‘bail out’. The call will be made at a press conference (taking place at 12 noon in the Central Hotel, Dublin, on Friday 31st January) to launch an Afri Report entitled ‘The IMF and Ireland: What We Can Learn from the Global South’.

Action from Ireland (Afri) claims the loans from the EU and the IMF will be used to repay the bondholders (mainly European financial institutions) who lent to those Irish banks that have now crashed and burned, and whose liabilities the Irish state has recklessly guaranteed. Afri chairperson Andy Storey said that “these debts were not incurred to run Irish public services but by private speculators chasing a quick buck – why should ordinary Irish citizens now pick up that tab?”

He accused the Irish government of acting as debt collectors for foreign banks. Afri, he said, has extensive experience of the negative impact of the IMF, especially in Developing Countries, and, based on this experience, is well placed to warn of the danger of accepting diktats from such international institutions. Continue reading “What Ireland can learn from the Global South”

Campaigners Call for Immediate Debt Cancellation for Pakistan

PRESS RELEASE, 14 September 2010

Issued by Debt and Development Coalition Ireland

Debt cancellation campaigners today called for immediate and unconditional debt cancellation for Pakistan. Debt and Development Coalition Ireland highlighted that since being hit by disastrous floods, Pakistan still owes €42 billion to external lenders and pays out a third of its revenue each year in interest repayments on debt. This is despite the fact that over 20 million Pakistani people are suffering loss of livelihoods, homelessness and illnesses, pushing Pakistan to the brink of collapse. Continue reading “Campaigners Call for Immediate Debt Cancellation for Pakistan”

Haiti’s Debt Still Not Cancelled – Take Action Now!

Contrary to the recent media reports, Haiti’s debt still is not cancelled. While the G7 announced that they will cancel the debts due to them from Haiti, this represents a minimal amount of Haiti’s debt (not more than US$ 122 million). The bulk of Haiti’s debt – US$ 650 million – still remains to be cancelled by international financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the IMF and the World Bank.

Ireland is implicated in this failure through our membership of the IMF and World Bank. The government of Canada represents Ireland’s views at the executive boards of these institutions. Yet despite Ireland’s support for debt cancellation for the poorest countries in the world such as Haiti, Canada has still not insisted that the institutions cancel Haiti’s debt.

We need to put pressure on both the Irish and Canadian governments to cancel Haiti’s debt immediately and unconditionally. This is an urgent action as concern about Haiti’s debt has now disappeared from public attention. Continue reading “Haiti’s Debt Still Not Cancelled – Take Action Now!”

Haiti’s debt burden – the real story

Published by the European Network on Debt and Development, 4 February 2010

Despite much talk and announcements of debt relief for Haiti in the aftermath of the dramatic earthquake that hit the country last month, Eurodad’s new analysis, ‘’Haiti’s debt burden- the real story’’ by Murat Kotan, reveals that the country is still expected to pay back as much as $1.2 billion to the International Financial Institutions. Even before the earthquake, Haiti – with more than three quarters of its population living on less than 2$ a day – was expected to use almost one tenth of its revenue to pay back debts to the International Financial Institutions. With declining revenue and increasing debts, Haiti’s debt repayments will most likely swell well above one tenth of its revenues. If new debt relief is not delivered soon, prospects for recovery in Haiti will be dire. Continue reading “Haiti’s debt burden – the real story”