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Parliamentary questions
26 March 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Rule 117
Pino Arlacchi (S&D) , Andrea Cozzolino (S&D) , Frieda Brepoels (Verts/ALE) , Ivo Vajgl (ALDE) , Oreste Rossi (EFD) , Sabine Lösing (GUE/NGL) , Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE) , Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL) , Keith Taylor (Verts/ALE) , Ana Gomes (S&D) , Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL) , Rui Tavares (Verts/ALE) , Mariya Nedelcheva (PPE) and Sergio Paolo Frances Silvestris (PPE)

 Subject: VP/HR — UK military exports to Bahrain

Newly released official figures have disclosed that, despite the recent violent crackdown in Bahrain, the British Government has approved, over the past months, the sale of military equipment to that country.

In February 2011, following the exposure of questionable arms sales to Bahrain, Libya and Egypt, the British Government announced a review of its arms export licensing policy. In March 2011, accordingly, the UK declared that it had revoked 122 licences, including 44 covering military exports to Bahrain.

However, in the case of Bahrain the UK quickly resumed its arms transfers. By June 2011 it was back to business as usual, ignoring the continuing violence against civilians and arrests of activists in the country.

The latest statistics available, covering the third quarter of 2011 and published on the website of the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, show that the UK has licensed military exports to Bahrain — including gun silencers, weapon sights, rifles, naval guns and technology for artillery — to the value of GBP 1.3 million.

The criteria of the EU common position on arms exports require Member States to refuse a licence if there is a ‘clear risk’ that ‘the military technology or equipment to be exported might be used for internal repression’.

In view of the above:

1. Is the Vice-President/High Representative aware of the UK’s sales of military equipment to Bahrain, which run contrary to the EU common position on arms exports?
2. What measures will the Vice-President/High Representative take to put an end to this situation and promote stricter implementation by Member States of the criteria of the EU common position?

 OJ C 124 E, 30/04/2013
Last updated: 24 April 2012Legal notice