Campaigners revealed today that countries in the Nobel peace prize-winning European Union increased arms sales by nearly a fifth in 2011.
The European Network Against Arms Trade (Enaat) said EU member states licensed arms exports worth €37.5 billion (£31bn) in 2011, up 18.3 per cent on 2010.
Enaat got its figures from the EU's military exports report, released on December 14 without any press statement or announcement.
"The report is a huge document, packed with figures, but without analysis of the contents or comparison tables with data from past years," said Giorgio Beretta of the Italian Disarmament Network.
He said the report was also incomplete, lacking information on arms delivery.
Mr Beretta also criticised the lack of transparency and the already out-of-date statistics.
"It seems to take a whole year for EU officials to receive and assemble the data from national reports," he said.
"Reports on exports of turnips and potatoes come faster than those of arms."
The EU was given the Nobel peace prize last year to a chorus of international derision.
Past laureates Mairead Maguire, Desmond Tutu and Adolfo Perez Esquivel declared the choice was illegal as the EU was not a "champion of peace," as stipulated in Alfred Nobel's will.
Dutch campaigner Wendela de Vries said: "Given that the EU has now joined the ranks of the Nobel peace laureates, we call for action to close the gap between the EU's peace rhetoric and its profiteering from war preparations."
The report revealed that France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain accounted for 80 per cent of the 27-member EU's arms exports.
France alone exported more than a quarter of the total, selling €9.9bn (£8.2bn) worth of weapons.
Britain took the number two spot with €7bn (£5.8bn).
Saudi Arabia overtook the US as the biggest recipient of EU arms, buying more than €4.2bn (£3.5bn) - half of that from Britain.
Democracy protests kicked off in the country in January 2011 and have been brutally supressed by the Saudi government, with 14 people killed by the authorities.
Exports to the Middle East, where many countries have viciously cracked down on Arab spring demonstrations, soared from €6.6bn (£5.5bn) in 2010 to €8bn (£6.6bn) in 2011.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Lord Feldman says that he didn't call grassroots Tories "mad swivel-eyed loons" while his accusers stand by their stories that he did.
As Aslef's annual assembly of delegates begins in Edinburgh tomorrow the general secretary explains the challenges his members - and workers across the country - face
France is the latest to face clamour from the EU to enforce crippling 'structural reforms.' The medicine is killing the patient