Belgian Army Arms Exports – More than an Economic Decision

Un avion de chasse F-16, vendu par l’armée belge à la Jordanie, décolle de la base de Kleine Brogel vers sa nouvelle affectation en septembre 2008. Crédit : www.mil.be

Since the "devolution" of arms transfers controls, exports from the Belgian army were often presented as "residual" competencies. But the nature of weapons transferred is far from trivial: the army exports its 
surplus equipment. This is both an economic and a political decision. The value of transactions involved is often significant. In addition, the federal government is showing less transparency than the three regions, which reduces the level of information available to the parliament and the population as well as their ability to monitor and demand accountability in government. This lack of transparency appears to be directly related to the fragmentation of transfer control and it has implications on the level of responsibility of different authorities. In some cases this situation is likely to foster "irresponsible" arms transfers as well as questionable practices with respect to the European common position on arms exports and the Belgian legislation.