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New EU Report on the control of exports of military technology and equipment

(S,P) The EU has released a detailed report on the exports of military technology and equipment. Get the summary and download the report here.

In the EU, 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.

The EU promotes responsibility and transparency by both exporting and importing countries, as well as adherence to the highest regional and international standards, such as:

  • The Arms Trade Treaty(link is external) (ATT)

  • EU Common Position on arms export control

  • Council Decision amending the Common Position

The EU Common Position on arms export controls lays down a notification and consultation mechanism for export licence denials, including a transparency procedure (publication of EU annual reports on arms exports).

In September 2019, the Council adopted a Decision amending the Common Position. This Decision takes account of a number of developments at both the European Union and international levels that have resulted in new obligations and commitments for the EU Member States since the adoption of the Common Position of 2008. These developments include for example the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty in 2014.

A consolidated version of the EU Common Position can be found here.

The Common Position contains 8 risk assessment criteria that all EU countries apply to their licensing decisions for exports of conventional weapons.

The EU Common Position has contributed significantly to the convergence of national arms export control policies. It extends controls to brokering, transit transactions and intangible transfers of technology. Its principles and criteria have also been officially subscribed to by a number of countries outside the EU.

It requires EU governments to apply risk assessments and transparency measures to goods listed by the 'EU Common Military List'.

The User's Guide (revised in 2019) is intended to help Member States apply the EU Common Position. It does not replace the Common Position in any way, but summarises agreed guidance for the interpretation of its criteria and implementation of its articles. It is intended for use primarily by export licensing officials.


22nd Report

EU arms exports: the need for more control and transparency

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