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Parliamentary questions
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28 January 2019
Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-004411/2018

At this stage, the European Union is not a party of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), as only States can be parties thereto. Nevertheless, insofar as ATT covers matters falling under the EU competence, Directive 2009/43/EC simplifying terms and conditions of transfers of defence-related products within the Community(1) is applicable.

Under the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP(2) the control of arms exports is a responsibility of EU Member States. It is their responsibility to assess the risks of arms transaction against a set of criteria that include the risk that the arms might be used for internal repression or international aggression, for violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. The Common Position also provides for transparency. Every year the EU Council reports on the implementation of the Common Position and provides detailed information on granted and denied export licences. In 2017(3) Member States shared information on 14 cases of export denials to Saudi Arabia, including 6 denials on exports of military listed items based on Common Position criteria. The Council Working Party on Arms Exports (COARM) regularly addresses the policies of Member States on arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, but any licencing decision rests fully with the Member States.

In line with Articles 42(6) and 46 of the Treaty on European Union, permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) is focused on jointly developing the military capabilities of the participating Member States and increasing their operational availability, deployability, flexibility and interoperability. The monitoring of Member States arms exports falls outside the scope of PESCO.

(1)Directive 2009/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 simplifying terms and conditions of transfers of defence-related products within the Community, OJ L 146, 10.6.2009, p. 1.
(2)Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing con troll of exports of military technology and equipment https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32008E0944
(3)Twentieth Annual Report according to Article 8(2) of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP. (ST 13586 2018 INIT) adopted by the Council on 9 November 2018.

Last updated: 28 January 2019Legal notice