EU arms exports to Libya: who armed Gaddafi?

by Simon Rogers
Which EU countries export the most arms to Libya? Get the full data here

Get the data
 UK arms sales to the Middle East and North Africa

Anti Gadaffi Libyan soldiersEU arms sales to Libya: Libyan soldiers who have defected against Moammar Gaddafi guard anti-aircraft guns in Benghazi Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

UPDATE, 2 MARCH 2011: The Maltese government claims it accidentally added an extra '0' to its arms figures for 2009 - you can read the report on here.

Which EU countries armed Libya under Gaddafi? The EU arms sales to Libya statistics, collected by the European Union, are not exactly public knowledge.

We only know about them because of some excellent work by Dan O'Huiggin, who found the complete breakdown of EU military exports in some distant corner of the Europa website and published a breakdown of 2009, the latest year available.

The data, only available as a PDF, is tricky to export but we bring you the latest five years here. It covers from 2005 (the first year after the end of the arms embargo in 2004) right up to 2009.

Roll over bars for numbers. Download the data

Last week we looked at the UK's exports to the Middle East and North Africa. How does the EU data compare?

The key points are:

The EU granted export licenses for 834.5m worth of arms exports in the first five years after the arms embargo was lifted in October 2004
2009 is the highest amount ever: 343.7m
Italy is the top exporter, with 276.7m over the five years
The UK got off to a big start in 2005, with 58.9m of the 72.2m total. UK licenses over the five years are worth 119.35m
Malta saw some 79.7m of guns go through the Island en route to Libya in 2009 - apparently sold via an Italian company

It's worth checking out Dan O'Huiggin's round-up of the brilliant European coverage of these sales for examples of the arms trade in action.

Where do I get the data?

There's no single entry point. You can find the 2009 report here and this search term will get you 2008 as well. You can get earlier years here too.

There are some caveats you should take into account too - these are licenses, so actual sales could be less. They also don't show who the end-user is. So, for example, some of the French licenses are undoubtedly granted for UK companies exporting via Paris. The data is perhaps deliberately obscure.

But we've got the full five years below. What can you do with it?

Data summary

EU arms exports to Libya

Value of export licenses granted. All figures in m. Click heading to sort. Download this data

Total 72.19 59.03 108.8 250.78 343.73 834.54
Italy 14.97 56.72 93.22 111.8 276.7
France 12.88 36.75 17.66 112.32 30.54 210.15
UK 58.86 3.11 4.63 27.2 25.55 119.35
Germany 0.31 2 23.84 4.18 53.15 83.48
Malta 0.01 79.69 79.7
Belgium 0.21 0.45 22.32 23.02
Portugal 6.88 14.52 21.4
Spain 3.82 3.84 7.69
Slovakia 1 4.41 5.41
Bulgaria 3.73 3.75
Czech Republic 1.19 1.92 3.11
Poland 2.03 2.03
Austria 1.81 1.83
Slovenia 0.14 0.27 0.11 0.53
Latvia 0.25 0.25
Greece 0.03

EU arms exports: types of product

All figuresin . Click heading to sort. Download this data

Ammunition and fuses
Tear gas, chem weapons, radio-active
Electronic equip
Military planes
Small guns
Total 6,101,995 9,688,033 85,416,087 278,244,867 97,955,681
Italy 0 1,016,948 107,726,979
France 2,345,007 1,045,360 10,689,216 126,177,565 7,412
UK 3,088 455,705 26,163,548 2,118,152 283,942
Germany 0 7,765,968 46,894,764 15,780,000
Malta 14,900 79,689,691