8 November 2022, Brussels
(.pdf versions available in English and French)

As of today the public platform Open Security Data Europe, listing beneficiaries of EU security funding, expands to EU research and development (R&D) grants in the military field. The database gives a unique overview of which companies, research centres and public agencies receive EU funding for military and security projects.

Since 2007, the European Union has spent billions of Euros on security-related projects, including policing, border control, counter-terrorism and cyber security. Then in 2017 the EU budget started to subsidise the armament sector for the research and development of the next generation of weaponry, moving in a few years from a ‘modest’ budget of €500 million to a Defence Fund worth €8 billion for the period 2021-2027.

Spending on civilian and military security is not trivial, yet knowing who benefits from these projects and how much money they receive is a challenge. “Although publicly available, this information is currently spread across different EU agencies and departments and different online tools, some of which are particularly complex to access. Other data has to be requested directly from national entities. This is a serious impediment to transparency about EU subsidies to the security industry” says Mark Akkerman, researcher at Stop Wapenhandel, an ENAAT member organisation.

Opensecuritydata.eu was created in 2021 by independent investigative journalists Caitlin L. Chandler, Zach Campbell and Chris Jones with the support of the International Press Institute and the European Journalism Centre, as a unique tool to find out which companies, public agencies and research institutions receive European funding for civil security. In 2022 the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) provided the expertise and financial support to include detailed data on companies and other entities benefiting from the European Defence Fund (EDF) precursor programmes in 2017-2020, and to update the civil security data.

“This database is a valuable tool for civil society to monitor the EU’s increasing security and defence expenditure, on projects that often have dangerous implications for civil liberties and human rights. It plays a key role in letting people find out what their governments are doing with public funding,” says Chris Jones, now Executive Director of Statewatch.

“For military research and development, the database reveals that 15 companies and research centres in the arms sector account for 52% of the budget allocated in 2017-2020, six of which were members of a ‘Group of Personalities’ charged in 2016 with advising the European Commission on the setting-up of such a programme,” explains Akkerman. “And the four major European military powers, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, get back almost two-third of the budget”.

Furthermore, by combining other sources of information such as the ExitArms.org database and the Corruption Tracker, it becomes clear that most of these major recipients are involved in controversial arms deliveries and/or face serious allegations of corruption.

“Already in 2016 we warned that the European Defence Fund would exacerbate the global arms race” recalls Laëtitia Sédou, project manager at ENAAT. “Unfortunately, the data available today confirms this: The military industry subsidised by the EU exports military equipment to authoritarian and/or belligerent countries or to countries in the grip of internal conflicts, with a very high risk that these weapons will be used to repress civilians or in conflict zones”.

“Providing funds to these corporations does not breach EU regulation; however, one should still question the moral, ethical, and legal implications of subsidising corporations when there is evidence of corruption”, says B. Arneson, Program Director at the World Peace Foundation / Research Coordinator at the Corruption Tracker, an ENAAT member organisation.

Thanks to the support of ENAAT, the platform will be updated annually as data is published by the EU.



The European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) was founded in 1984 and involves groups and individuals who see the arms trade as a threat to peace, security and development. We are made up of 18 national campaign and research groups from 14 European countries and 4 European or international organisations.