MEP condemns EU attempts to increase its role in controlling key industries

05-Feb-2014 @ 16:0

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

The European Parliament yesterday (5 February) passed a resolution on the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), along with a technical authorisation for Member States to ratify the Treaty.

The ATT is the first international treaty regulating sales of conventional weapons since the Ottawa Treaty banning Anti-personnel landmines. The ATT was finalised by the UN in July 2012 after over six years of world-wide negotiation.

According to the current EU treaties, the EU has a unique competence on import and export controls for its Member States and these are part of the ATT. The EU therefore has to “authorise” its Member States to ratify the ATT. As always, the EU tries to extend its “competence” further. It seeks to act as Spokesman on these issues for the 28 Member States and in that role to speak on their behalf at the UN. The resolution before Parliament also seeks to put new interpretations on the Treaty, encouraging changes to what has been agreed.

Speaking in the European Parliament yesterday (4 February), Conservative Defence Spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden MEP cautioned against the EU’s ambitions.

“Britain has led international efforts to secure an international Arms Trade Treaty since helping instigate the process at the UN.

“Now we see the EU trying to put an additional imprint on actions which properly should be taken by national governments.

“It is already an unhealthy state of affairs that Member States can only decide on accession to the ATT after “authorisation” by the EU. Import and export controls, which are an element of the ATT, have become matters of exclusive EU competence. This has the effect of enabling the EU to become involved in the performance of our national defence industries. There is further competence creep in the EU’s call to be “part of the Treaty”, for an “EU Support-mechanism” and “ATT-outreach programme". There are also ill-advised attempts, in the Parliament’s resolution, to re-interpret the treaty.

“Overall, we are regulating ourselves more while the real abusers in the international arms trade just carry on. Instead of focusing on harmonizing European positions that are already very similar and well-regulated, we should instead be ensuring that less responsible arms-trading countries such as China and Russia sign up to international rules”.

« Back