Arms export: MEPs criticise member states’ failure to control it
EU member states fail on arms export control
EU arms fuel crisis in Yemen
Need for more transparency and sanctions mechanism
The EU member states systematic failure to apply EU rules on arms export control should be addressed by wider transparency and sanctions mechanism, said MEPs on Tuesday.
Foreign affairs and defence MEPs stress that arms export has undeniable impact on human rights and democracy, therefore it needs to be guided by strict, transparent, effective and commonly accepted control system.
The resolution on arms export control, drafted by EP rapporteur Sabine Lösing (GUE/NGL, DE), notes that EU member states have commonly agreed rules, setting the criteria on who could get an arms export licence, but systematically fail to apply them. It call for an independent assessment of member states compliance and regret there is no mechanism that would sanctions those EU states which do not follow the EU rules on arms export.
Arms export to Saudi Arabia fuel crisis in Yemen
MEPs highlight some particular cases where, for example, almost all request to export arms to Saudi Arabia got a green light from EU member states, even though it violated six out of eight arms export criteria. Exported war vessels helped to reinforce naval blockage of Yemen, while aircrafts and bombs were fundamental to the air campaign, leading to the ongoing suffering of people in Yemen, they add.
The resolution reiterates EP’s previous calls to impose arms embargo on Saudi Arabia and to extend it to all other member of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. MEPs congratulate Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, for halting arms export to Saudi Arabia, but regret other EU member states did not follow suit.
Need for more transparency
The resolution also advocates for greater transparency on arms export reporting, urging to provide more and timely information on export licences. MEPs regret that the annual report for 2016 was only presented on February 2018.
Foreign affairs and defence MEPs note that a number of member states did not fully revealed their arms export data, which hinders the possibility to have a complete picture of member states’ export activities. They call on all member states, which have not made full submissions, to provide additional information regarding their past exports with a view to the next annual report. It should become an open and public online database by the end of 2019, MEPs add.
The resolution on arms export control was approved by 27 votes to 4, with 12 abstentions. The full House is to vote on it at the November I plenary session in Strasbourg.
EU28 is the second largest arms supplier in the world (27% of global arms export), after the USA (34 %) and before Russia (22 %).
The EU's Common Position on arms exports is the only legally binding region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports. It list eight criteria which member states have to apply when taking a decision on arms export licence: respect for the international obligations and commitments, particularly sanctions; respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by the recipient country; the internal situation in the recipient country; risks to regional peace, security and stability; national security of the Member States as well of their friends and allies; behaviour of the buyer country towards the international community, including its attitude to terrorism and respect for international law; risk of diversion towards an unauthorised end-user or end-use; and compatibility of the arms exports with sustainable development in the recipient country.