Peace and security


Arms trade: the EU must enforce its export criteria

Crises elsewhere are also our business, especially when our weapons are involved. At the General Affairs Council on Monday, the EU Member States spoke out in favour of more transparency in arms exports, among other things. However, it is not enough just to know where our weapons end up. What is needed is an EU mechanism, in other words a uniform licensing procedure, to prevent our weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

The 2008 Common Position on arms exports should ensure that European arms are not delivered to warmongers and human rights violators. Eight very good export criteria should ensure this. So far, however, the licensing procedures for arms exports in the EU member states differ considerably. This makes it possible, for example, that despite a German arms embargo, German arms companies continue to supply arms parts to other EU member states, which can then be exported to Saudi Arabia. So despite EU directives, European arms trade remains confusing; our common export criteria are not being observed.

A revision of the common position was therefore long overdue. However, what has been decided today in the Council is not a great success. As Greens, we welcome the fact that the EU Member States have now taken up our demands for greater transparency in arms exports, which were adopted by plenary in 2017. But that is not enough. What is needed, however, is an EU mechanism for strict compliance with our very good export criteria for the arms trade. I also explained this to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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