EU exports of military technology and equipment


The granting licences for exports of military technology and equipment is a competence of individual EU Member States. There is no common legislation for this (contrary to the EU's Dual-Use Regulation). Instead, the EU has a Common Position. It contributed significantly to the convergence of national arms export control policies of the EU Member States, although individual controls and laws remain.  


Common Position on Arms Controls

The criteria are part of the EU Common Position on arms export controls which lays down a notification and consultation mechanism for export licence denials. The Common Position extends controls to

  1.  brokering

  2. transit transactions

  3. intangible transfers of technology.

Eight criteria for exports of military technology and equipment

Thanks to the Common Position, arms exports have to be assessed against eight far-reaching risk assessment criteria relating notably to the risk of human rights and humanitarian law violations, the risk of diversion, the risk of internal or regional instability. These are 8 risk assessment criteria that all EU countries apply to their licensing decisions for exports of conventional weapons.


EU Common Military List

The EU has also adopted a Common Military List against which they apply risk assessments & transparency measures to goods listed by the 'EU Common Military List'.


Transparency: Annual Report

The Common position also contains a transparency procedure, a publication of EU annual reports on arms exports. Every year, the EU reports on statistics on licences and exports of conventional arms from the EU Member States during a calendar year. The report also covers activities undertaken by the EU and its Member States. It provides vital information on how export controls for military equipment and technology is controlled in the EU. In addition, the report contains non-exhaustive information on intra-EU transfers of defence-related products that are governed by Directive 2009/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council,


More information

Stay up-to-date


Subscribe to latest Customs & Global Trade News