The EU Common Position on Arms Export Policies: Europeanising Transparency

  • Leonie Grünhage
  • Kristina Krauter
  • Magdalena Schmidt
  • Sebastian Zavelsberg

Abstract

In 2008, as a response to several scandals in arms exports, the EU Member States adopted a legally binding Council Common Position on Arms Exports in order to avoid the export of armaments to crisis regions. The adoption succeeded a Code of Conduct from 1998, the first detailed agreement in the field of arms deliveries between EU governments, and pushed for further harmonisation in the field of European arms export policies. The Member States emphasize the importance of such efforts and push for the adoption of common rules on the European level. However, it remains to be seen whether the implementation on the national level is successful. Another important aspect in the domain of arms exports is transparency both in the licensing process and the assessment of licensing decisions. To increase this transparency on a European and national level, harmonisation efforts were introduced through the Code of Conduct and Common Position. Although the Member States are legally obliged to report to the EU on their arms transfers since 2008, the implementation of the criteria set out in the EU Common Position remains in the hands of Member States. This raises the question, which impact the development of the EU Common Position has had domestically. Therefore, this chapter sets out to analyse to what extent the Common Position has harmonized the national policies in the field of arms export and has made them more transparent to the wider public and different public actors. Moreover, it will be investigated how different Member States are influencing the development of the EU Code of Conduct.

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Published
2013-07-01