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Review of dual-use export controls

26-11-2019

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 is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous ...

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 is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous' EU list for cyber-surveillance technology featuring items that are not (yet) subject to multilateral export control. Moreover, the proposal seeks to introduce human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. 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. Fifth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

EU rules on control of arms exports

07-11-2018

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. Following the publication of the EU's 19th annual report on arms exports in February 2018, the European Parliament is due to discuss a report ...

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. Following the publication of the EU's 19th annual report on arms exports in February 2018, the European Parliament is due to discuss a report on the implementation of the Common Position during its November I plenary session.

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.

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

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.

Towards an EU common position on the use of armed drones

15-06-2017

Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones. This publication, which was requested by the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee, includes a briefing with specific recommendations, drawn up from a legal standpoint, on the elements ...

Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones. This publication, which was requested by the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee, includes a briefing with specific recommendations, drawn up from a legal standpoint, on the elements that a future Council decision on the use of armed drones should include. This publication also includes a report on the workshop held on 22 March 2017, at which a first draft of the briefing was presented and discussed with Members and stakeholders. The discussion at the workshop confirmed that there was broad support in Parliament for the development of common European principles governing the use of armed drones, not least in view of the emergence of new risks from non-state actors and the EU’s commitment to enhancing security and defence cooperation. While there is currently no agreement between Member States to pursue the matter at EU level, the workshop debate drew attention to the common rules on exports of armed drones and drone technology that already exist. Furthermore, progress has been made recently in agreeing a joint EU position regarding the related matter of lethal autonomous weapons.

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.

Εξωτερικός συντάκτης

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

Workshop: Facilitating external trade via border management

24-05-2017

The subject of trade facilitation and border management lies at the heart of EU trade policy, which seeks to take advantage of global value chains for the benefit of workers, consumers and businesses. This demands that goods may flow smoothly across borders without jeopardising EU values and standards. Trade facilitation principles help reduce the cost of cross-border trade in goods while safeguarding regulatory control objectives. Good border management practice is integral to trade facilitation ...

The subject of trade facilitation and border management lies at the heart of EU trade policy, which seeks to take advantage of global value chains for the benefit of workers, consumers and businesses. This demands that goods may flow smoothly across borders without jeopardising EU values and standards. Trade facilitation principles help reduce the cost of cross-border trade in goods while safeguarding regulatory control objectives. Good border management practice is integral to trade facilitation. In this study many ideas and examples about how borders management can be improved are shown. The key is coordination, cooperation and integration within the respective border agencies (intra-agency), between the many border agencies (inter-agency) and international (with colleagues across the border and EU trade partners). Despite considerable policy interest, research is still in its infancy. There is much demand for further enquiry. This paper discusses relevant principles, ideas and concepts and concludes with a list of recommendations. This includes the recommendation to develop suitable EU institutions in aid of trade facilitation as well as for research.

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

25-01-2017

The IA is well structured, clear and compact. Overall, it appears to provide well-researched explanation of the evidence base of the legislative proposal. The problem definition is illustrated by facts and figures which give a clear view of international security threats. The outcome of the stakeholder consultation is clearly presented and has been integrated into the analysis and the assessment of the different options, with a transparent presentation of stakeholders' views throughout. Nevertheless ...

The IA is well structured, clear and compact. Overall, it appears to provide well-researched explanation of the evidence base of the legislative proposal. The problem definition is illustrated by facts and figures which give a clear view of international security threats. The outcome of the stakeholder consultation is clearly presented and has been integrated into the analysis and the assessment of the different options, with a transparent presentation of stakeholders' views throughout. Nevertheless, the IA has a number of shortcomings. A clearer explanation of the links between the problems and their drivers, the objectives of the legislative proposal and the options considered, would have strengthened the IA. The report would have been more persuasive had it been clearer about the methodological approach to the comparison of the options. Even if the Commission made efforts to collect relevant data in preparation of the IA, the analysis remains essentially qualitative. Finally, the IA remains vague about the overall impact of the proposal on SMEs and competitiveness.

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

ISIL/Da'esh and 'non-conventional' weapons of terror

02-05-2016

The European Union and its Member States must prepare for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on their territory by the self-styled 'Islamic State' in Iraq and the Levant (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Da'esh'). Since October 2015, terrorist attacks in Ankara, the Sinai Peninsula, Beirut, Paris, Tunis and Brussels, for which ISIL/Da'esh has claimed responsibility, have cost the lives of over 530 people. Immediately following the attacks in Paris and ...

The European Union and its Member States must prepare for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on their territory by the self-styled 'Islamic State' in Iraq and the Levant (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Da'esh'). Since October 2015, terrorist attacks in Ankara, the Sinai Peninsula, Beirut, Paris, Tunis and Brussels, for which ISIL/Da'esh has claimed responsibility, have cost the lives of over 530 people. Immediately following the attacks in Paris and Brussels, the jihadist terrorist group threatened further attacks in European cities. ISIL/Da'esh has vowed that future strikes will be more lethal and even more shocking, prompting experts to warn that the group may be planning to try to use internationally banned weapons of mass destruction in future attacks. On 19 November 2015, the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, raised the spectre of ISIL/Da'esh planning a chemical or biological attack. At present, Europeans are generally not contemplating the possibility that extremist groups might use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials during attacks in Europe. Under these circumstances, the impact of such an attack, should it occur, would be even more destabilising. European governments and EU institutions need to be on alert, and should consider publicly addressing the possibility of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological, radiological or even nuclear materials. The EU institutions have devoted considerable efforts to preventing a CBRN attack on European soil and preparing worst-case scenarios. However, some gaps remain, in particular with regard to information-sharing among Member States. This briefing updates the previous edition published on 3 December 2015.

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