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Review of dual-use export controls

20-07-2021

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime has just been revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation will recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal explicitly ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime has just been revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation will recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal explicitly defines cyber-surveillance technology as dual-use technology and introduces human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. It also includes provisions to control emerging technologies. The proposed regulation introduces greater transparency into dual-use export control by increasing the level of detail Member States will have to provide on exports, licences, licence denials and prohibitions. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Trilogue negotiations ended on 9 November 2020, with agreement on a final compromise text. Endorsed by the INTA committee on 30 November, the Parliament formally voted on the text in plenary on 25 March 2021. The Regulation was published in the Official Journal on 11 June 2021 and enters into force on 8 September 2021. Seventh edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items

22-03-2021

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; known as 'dual-use' goods, they are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposal would place new limits on the export of cyber-surveillance items and strengthen human rights considerations ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; known as 'dual-use' goods, they are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposal would place new limits on the export of cyber-surveillance items and strengthen human rights considerations. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the agreed text resulting from interinstitutional negotiations during the March II plenary session.

EU export authorisation scheme for personal protection equipment

26-05-2020

In the midst of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission issued an implementing regulation requiring authorisations for exports of personal protection equipment (PPE), effective as of 15 March 2020 for a six-week period. A second implementing regulation extended the period for another 30 days. The latter reduced the range of products subject to authorisation to three categories, namely mouth-nose protection, protective spectacles and visors, and protective garments; gloves ...

In the midst of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission issued an implementing regulation requiring authorisations for exports of personal protection equipment (PPE), effective as of 15 March 2020 for a six-week period. A second implementing regulation extended the period for another 30 days. The latter reduced the range of products subject to authorisation to three categories, namely mouth-nose protection, protective spectacles and visors, and protective garments; gloves and face shields were dropped from the list. The authorisations are granted by national competent authorities, and must be coordinated with the Commission's new 'clearing house for medical equipment' and the rescEU stockpile of medical equipment in order to verify that the PPE being exported is not needed by other EU Member States in their fight against coronavirus. The export authorisation regulations are among the EU coordination and solidarity mechanisms implemented by the European Commission. A mapping of exports and imports of PPE subject to authorisation shows that, even though the EU runs a large trade surplus for medical products in general, it had been running trade deficits on these specific products for the last decade. The scale of trade in these products is also very small since imports represented as little as 0.05 % of EU gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. This all goes to show how what amounts to a tiny portion of international trade can have dramatic consequences.

Recommendations for a transparent and detailed reporting system on arms exports within the EU and to third countries

08-05-2020

The EU’s annual report on arms export control presently lags behind the national reports of many countries. The introduction of a searchable online database will be a substantial step in increasing the user-friendliness of the report. This paper makes recommendations with regard to readability, comprehensiveness and comparability. Perhaps the principal recommendation is that steps be taken to harmonise the data provided under the categories ‘licensed value’ and ‘actual exports’, which are presently ...

The EU’s annual report on arms export control presently lags behind the national reports of many countries. The introduction of a searchable online database will be a substantial step in increasing the user-friendliness of the report. This paper makes recommendations with regard to readability, comprehensiveness and comparability. Perhaps the principal recommendation is that steps be taken to harmonise the data provided under the categories ‘licensed value’ and ‘actual exports’, which are presently not consistently interpreted across the EU. The main argument of this paper is that the EU should move towards using data visualisation to complement the lengthy statistical tables in the annual report and thus make it more readable. The EU and its Member States should also explore opportunities to enhance the data contained in the report to include additional identified data fields, narrative sections to complement the statistical data, and disaggregated data on licence denials. In identifying additional data fields that could be included, the paper also examines the challenges associated with the provision of the data in each case.

Autor externo

Dr Ian J. STEWART, Dr Benedict WILKINSON, Prof. Christoph O. MEYER, King's College, London, UK

The further development of the Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports control

16-07-2018

In view of the upcoming review of the EU Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports, the aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the context in which this process will take place together with a set of possible outcomes the review could produce. The speakers from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), first defined the context by describing how, since the EU Common Position was adopted in 2008, EU member states performed in terms of military expenditure, arms production ...

In view of the upcoming review of the EU Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports, the aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the context in which this process will take place together with a set of possible outcomes the review could produce. The speakers from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), first defined the context by describing how, since the EU Common Position was adopted in 2008, EU member states performed in terms of military expenditure, arms production and arms transfers. Recent measures adopted at the EU level to boost defence industrial cooperation were also indicated as part of this framework. The speakers also highlighted the divergences in member states’ export policies which emerged in the last decade, most recently during the conflict in Yemen. They then provided a number of options that could be taken into consideration during the 2018 review, covering both adjustments to the language of the criteria and the user’s guide and measures to improve the implementation of the EU Common Position, the quality of reporting and to increase coherence and coordination of the EU export control regime.

Autor externo

Dr. Sibylle BAUER, Mark BROMLEY, Giovanna MALETTA – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

EU rules on control of arms exports

05-09-2017

The EU's Common Position on arms exports is the only legally binding region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports. While the Common Position has increased information-sharing and transparency of Member States' arms exports, scope remains to enhance convergence of national policies and for stricter implementation of the criteria defined in the EU text. Parliament is due to discuss a report on implementation of the Common Position during its September plenary session.

The EU's Common Position on arms exports is the only legally binding region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports. While the Common Position has increased information-sharing and transparency of Member States' arms exports, scope remains to enhance convergence of national policies and for stricter implementation of the criteria defined in the EU text. Parliament is due to discuss a report on implementation of the Common Position during its September plenary session.

The implementation of the EU arms export control system

30-05-2017

The aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the EU arms export control system as well as options for improvement. The main speaker, Dr Sibylle Bauer, Director of the Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), provided a brief overview of the main elements of the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and then focused on aspects related to strengthening implementation of the eight criteria of the Common Position, the enhancement of ...

The aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the EU arms export control system as well as options for improvement. The main speaker, Dr Sibylle Bauer, Director of the Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), provided a brief overview of the main elements of the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and then focused on aspects related to strengthening implementation of the eight criteria of the Common Position, the enhancement of compliance with the reporting obligation by Member States, possible ways to increase the transparency and public scrutiny of the export control framework and the development of the EU’s institutional framework in this context. Her presentation was followed by a debate involving members of the Security and Defence Committee of the European Parliament, the outcome of which may feed into the EP Annual Report on Arms Export.

Autor externo

Sibylle BAUER, Mark BROMLEY and Giovanna MALETTA, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

Control of trade in dual-use items

14-09-2016

The system of export controls requires its Member States to comply with general international obligations to counter the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and other items with potential military use. The same obligation is also applicable to ‘dual-use items’, i.e. items which can be used for civil and military purposes. The existing export control system of dual-use items requires an export authorisation if a dual-use item is exported from the EU to a non-EU country. Without ...

The system of export controls requires its Member States to comply with general international obligations to counter the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and other items with potential military use. The same obligation is also applicable to ‘dual-use items’, i.e. items which can be used for civil and military purposes. The existing export control system of dual-use items requires an export authorisation if a dual-use item is exported from the EU to a non-EU country. Without an export authorisation, the dual-use items cannot leave EU customs territory. The list of dual-use items requiring this authorisation is included in Annex I of Regulation 428/2009. The regulation also establishes several rules and principles for export, transport, transfer of, and brokering of these items. Although the regulation is binding in its entirety, it gives several broad competences and discretion to the Member States, for example, with regard to sanctions or different types of authorisation. These competences, on the one hand, allow the Member States to implement the regulation in a way that reflects their legal traditions. On the other hand, however, these might influence the process of harmonisation of dual-use export controls negatively, and as a result, limit their effectiveness. In addition, the most recent technological developments such as 3-D printers, geopolitical changes in the world, a growth of international terrorism and connected security concerns, and a greater concern for human rights, may require an update of the existing European legislation. On several occasions, the European Parliament has called on the Commission to update the existing legislation to react to these challenges. Similarly, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee noted the need to update the existing legislation. Finally, the European Commission itself expressed a willingness to come forward with a new legislative proposal that will update the existing system of export controls of dual-use items. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

EU Member States' arms exports (2013)

10-12-2015

This infographic aims to present data on arms exports licensed by EU Member States for the year 2013. The source of data is the 16th Annual Report on arms exports, published by the Council in March 2015, under the common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment. It categorises arms based on the 22 categories of military technology and equipment of the EU Common Military List. Data refer to 26 EU Member States, as figures for Cyprus and Greece are not available. This ...

This infographic aims to present data on arms exports licensed by EU Member States for the year 2013. The source of data is the 16th Annual Report on arms exports, published by the Council in March 2015, under the common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment. It categorises arms based on the 22 categories of military technology and equipment of the EU Common Military List. Data refer to 26 EU Member States, as figures for Cyprus and Greece are not available. This paper presents the overall value of arms exports licences, and then focuses on the subgroup ‘Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition’, representing ML1, ML2 and ML3 of the Common Military List.

Workshop on Dual Use Export Controls

06-10-2015

Although EU Regulation 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items system is in line with the main export control regimes and is seen as a model for others to follow, there are a number of ways in which the regulation could be enhanced and refined. Part One outlines the current state of play, purpose and implementation of the current regulation. In Part Two, against the backdrop of the European Commission's reform proposal ...

Although EU Regulation 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items system is in line with the main export control regimes and is seen as a model for others to follow, there are a number of ways in which the regulation could be enhanced and refined. Part One outlines the current state of play, purpose and implementation of the current regulation. In Part Two, against the backdrop of the European Commission's reform proposal, the effectiveness of the EU's dual-use export controls regime is explored further with regard to its potential contribution to international, national and human security, as well as their impact on EU economic and trade interests. The study concludes that the system’s effectiveness could be improved in a number of ways, but that this requires an effort to mobilise political will at different levels and across different institutions within the EU and its Member States, and to enhance human resources, cooperation and capacity-building. The European Parliament should also give consideration on a regular basis to issues relating to the scope and implementation of the regulation, in order to ensure that the objectives continue to be achieved.

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