Grenade Launchers to Saudi Arabia from Finland
Although Finland is not a very big arms producer, it still has its share of the market of death. During the past decade, arms exports from Finland have doubled, but still only reach about 1% of all the EU exports. Many of the new arms deals have been made with countries in the Middle East, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The most recent important deal was made by Patria, Finland's biggest arms producer, which is about to sell grenade launchers to Saudi Arabia. The deal is estimated by SaferGlobe Finland to be worth 150 million euros, which is about double the annual average value of exports. Patria is owned by the Finnish state and EADS.
The grenade launcher system in question, Nemo 120 mm, is produced as a subcontractor for General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada, and the deal is part of a US Foreign Military Sales programme directed for US allies. When the preliminary agreement was signed in 2010, the final destination for the launchers was not known, and even by the end of April 2011 Patria had not yet received a formal export licence from the Finnish government. The deal was pushed forward based only on the preliminary opinion of the Foreign ministry.
According to the EU regulations human rights should be one of the criteria when licensing arms exports. Not only is Saudi Arabia one of the least democratic countries in the world, but also women rights are especially poor.
The Finnish ministries and Patria have refused to confirm Saudi Arabia as the final destination, since the information is not public before the export licence is granted - but they have not denied the claim.