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eurosatory

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As Quakers, we know global security does not need the international arms trade. What it needs is proven non-violent conflict transformation.

‘Eurosatory’ is an arms trade fair held every 2 years outside Paris, alternating years with an arms fair in the UK. The international arms trade is thus legitimatised, with job creation and security held up to justify it. Yet the flaws in the system are many: lack of transparency, corruption and non democratic influence over governments causing horror, refugees and violent extremism.

We believe that real security and defence will not be achieved by the arms trade. The investment in money, brains and energy that is evident at Eurosatory would be better spent on developing new techniques, non violent interventions and addressing the real underlying causes of the conflicts and their acceleration.

We are not against individuals or individual regimes, we are against the arms trade and believe in job-creating alternatives. We are aware that in the EU, France is pushing for more militarisation — it is the fifth largest exporter of arms so our voice in France is important.

Since 1998, Quakers in France alongside Mennonites, Franciscans, MIR*, CAAT*, Movement de la Paix* and other groups have been holding a vigil and protesting at Eurosatory, Paris. Quakers from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain, Ireland, France and other European meetings participate in the peace witness against Eurosatory.

The group uses Quaker approaches and welcomes the participation of people of all faiths and none. We treat with respect the participants at the arms fair, acknowledging that we all need security and employment.

Finance

Weapons manufacturers have gathered an army of lobbyists on the “Brussels front-line” of the European institutions. Their influence is embedded in an EU Defence and Security apparatus which is geared up to defend and nurture the arms industry. The main manufacturers are represented in influential advisory bodies of the European Commission, they are active in informal networks and finance supposedly “neutral” think tanks. Their aim is to foster a strong European Security and Defence Policy, to make Europe spend more on war planes, combat drones and the like and to get funding for their latest research projects (1).

Non weapons-based approaches are completely under funded and under represented. You may consider donating to peace lobbyists who have other solutions to conflict and potential conflict. This will enable arguments to be raised by those without vested interests in the arms industry and by groups who seek real security.