According to the latest update to SIPRI Arms Transfers Database, France leads EU countries when it comes to arms trade. It increased its exports by 27 percent between 2013 and 2017 and was the world’s third largest arms exporter in that period.
Arms exports by Germany – the fourth largest exporter in 2013-17, fell in comparison by 14 percent. However, notes SIPRI, “German arms exports to the Middle East increased by 109 percent”. Imports by European states decreased by 22 percent in 2013-17, although “deliveries of advanced combat aircraft from the USA will drive import volumes up during the next few years”. Along with the US, “European countries also remain the main arms exporter to the Middle East, and supplied 98 percent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia”, said Pieter Wezman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.