Europe

The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection's annual report gives an overview of conscientious objection in Europe this year. Read it here.

Foreword by Friedhelm Schneider, EBCO President

In September 2014 Heiner Bielefeldt, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, speaking at a side event to the Human Rights Council, observed: “Conscientious objection to military service is a specific issue, but not a side issue!”. One year on, in October 2015, the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, for the first time launches its Annual Report “Conscientious objection to military service in Europe 2015” in Geneva, immediately before the Session of the UN Human Rights Committee which will deal with the reports of Greece and the Republic of Korea - two states in which the right of conscientious objection to military service continues flagrantly to be violated.


Theodore Baird1

A number of scholars, journalists, and activists have argued that we may be witnessing the development of a ‘security-industrial complex’ in Europe which resembles the earlier ‘military-industrial complex’ of the Cold War. The border security-industrial complex refers to the relations between military, security, and private industry within a global market for the design and implementation of border security technologies. The main actors are governments, suppliers of security technologies, and security forces demanding use of new technologies for controlling and managing state borders.

Stephanie Demblon

“Europe is at war against an imaginary enemy” - this is Frontexit’s campaign slogan regarding the respect of migrants’ human rights at the borders of the European Union. Usually addressed from a humanitarian angle (guilty of negligence to basic migrant rights) or a political one (the question of migratory flux management and distribution), the subject is rarely connected to the European arms market. And yet…

OXI

Placheolder image

Paolo Novak

I write this as the results from the Greek referendum on the bailout programme proposed by the Troika (EU, IMF and European Central Bank) make headlines in newspapers and bulletins (July 2015). The resounding NO (oxi) to austerity that the referendum results returned may seem somewhat detached from the concerns of this TBR issue –and yet they are not, in a number of ways.

Daniel R. Mekonnen1

 

1. Introduction

The European Union (EU) has one of the most dangerous borders in its southern tip, across the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In recent years, this maritime border, particularly the Italian Peninsula, has become a mass grave of migrants by reason of tragic boat accidents that took place time and again, often times in distances so close to coastal towns that they could have provided timely interventions of rescue. This issue has caused a great deal of embarrassment on the part of some European institutions, as it is happening partly due to lack of an effective intervention strategy on the part of the EU. This points out that legal security and the provisions that safeguard human rights are in stark contrast to the militarised security of the borders.

Eurodrones, Inc.

Placheolder image

How far reaching is the EU's financing and support for the emerging drone industry? With what  intended purpose? And what will be the consequences of European citizens?

European president Herman Van Rompuy has put military Europe high on the political agenda. Only three months after receiving the Nobel peace prize, he concluded a speech at the annual conference of the European Defence Agency (EDA) as follows: “Europe was born out of the ashes of a war. And built, at first, by pooling (and sharing!) the instruments of war: coal and steel […]. The European Union stands by those in pursuit of peace and human dignity. To fulfil such responsibilities, we should make sure we have the means at our disposal.”

Wendela de Vries

Of the global top 20 arms producers, 4 European companies are ranked in high positions. Leading is British BAE Systems (former British Aerospace). The Swedish peace research institute SIPRI even ranked BAE Systems as the biggest global arms producer in 2008, but US weekly Defence News, using another ranking system, is listing BAE Systems third after the American companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Besides BAE the three other European giants are Italy’s Finmeccanica and formally Dutch-based EADS, both  mainly aeronautical companies, and French electronics company Thales. The output of these giants is bigger than the output of many a developing nation. They arose from the mid-1990’s in a process of mergers and acquisitions, when international (notably American) competition forced European defence companies to overcome national limits in order to survive. At that time a lot of state-owned defence companies were privatised, facilitating the accumulation process. Still national governments often kept a say in their defence industries: Finmeccanica is 30% state-owned, Thales is 27% French state-owned and EADS is partly French state and a Spanish state holding company-owned. Note that, in contrast, BAE Systems is private, although the company can count on strong government support, including export promotion, sales financing and even covering up of high-level corruption.

14-15 November 2008: European day of action against military infrastructure.

Europe is at war.

The bombs are not falling in Europe. They are falling several thousands of km away in Iraq and Afghanistan. But still war is waged from Europe. Europe serves as a launch pad for military interventions worldwide. The frameworks differ: NATO, EU, US coalition of the willing, UN. The targets also vary: Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chad, etc.


... and target for nonviolent direct action

Europe is at war. The bombs are not falling in Europe, but several thousand kilometers away in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless war is waged from Europe. From a whole range of military bases in Europe planes take off and supplies are shipped or air lifted to fight those wars.

Subscribe to Europe