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Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy
6 June 2000
on the Council's 1999 Annual Report on the Implementation of the
EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports
(11384/1999 – C5-0021/2000 – 2000/2012(COS))
Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy
Rapporteur: Gary Titley
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
EXPLANATORY STATEMENT 10OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, EXTERNAL TRADE, RESEARCH AND ENERGY
By letter of 8 November 1999, the Council forwarded to Parliament its 1999 Annual Report on the Implementation of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports (11384/1999 – 2000/2012(COS)).
At the sitting of 21 January 2000 the President of Parliament announced that she had referred this report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy as the committee responsible and the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy for its opinion (C5-0021/2000).
The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy appointed Gary Titley rapporteur at its meeting of 25 January 2000.
The committee/It considered the Annual Report and the draft report at its meeting(s) of ... .
At the latter/last meeting it adopted the motion for a resolution by ... votes to ... , with ... abstention(s)/unanimously.
The following were present for the vote: ... chairman/acting chairman; ... (and ...), vice-chairman/vice-chairmen; ..., rapporteur; ..., ... (for ...), ... (for ... pursuant to Rule 153(2)), ... and... .
(The explanatory statement will be presented orally in plenary sitting.)
The opinion(s) of the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy (and the Committee on ... is (are) attached(; the Committee on ... decided on ... not to deliver an opinion.
The report was tabled on ... .
The deadline for tabling amendments will be indicated in the draft agenda for the relevant part-session/is ... .on ... .
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
European Parliament resolution on the Council's 1999 Annual Report on the Implementation of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports (11384/1999 – C5-0021/2000 – 2000/2012(COS))
The European Parliament,
- having regard to the Council's 1999 Annual Report on the Implementation of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports (11384/99 – C5-0021/2000),
- having regard to Rule 47(1) of its Rules of Procedure,
having regard to the Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, on consistency in the Union's external activities, and Article 11, on the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy,
having regard to Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union, on co-operation in the field of armaments, and to Article 296 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community, on protection of national security interests,
having regard to the Joint Action adopted by the Council on the European Union's contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons,
having regard to the EU programme for preventing and combating illicit trafficking in conventional arms
having regard to its resolutions of 19 January 1995, 15 January 1998, 14 May 1998, and 7 October 1999 on an EU Code of Conduct on the export or transfer of arms
having regard to its resolutions of 15 May 1997 and 28 January 1999 on the European defence-related industries
- having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy (and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy) (A5-..../2000),
A. whereas the external action of the EU is guided by values of democracy and the protection of human rights,
B. whereas it follows from the Treaty that the Common Commercial Policy must be consistent with the Common Foreign and Security Policy,
C. whereas the ending of the Cold War has changed the security context in which the EU operates towards one in which regional and internal conflicts predominate,
D. whereas there have been a number of conflicts in the last decade in which military personnel from EU Member States, acting in a peace-keeping capacity, have been confronted by weapons manufactured and supplied by EU companies,
E. whereas the proliferation of light weapons and small arms is a major force for instability,
F. whereas given the current security perspective of the EU, the effective monitoring of end-use is absolutely essential and whereas the lack of provision for verifying the end-user of exported weapons in the Code is a major weakness,
G. whereas better control of legal arms exports, licensed production and arms brokering is a prerequisite of success in the combat of illicit arms trade and effective prevention of arms transfers to inappropriate end-users,
H. whereas military, security and police equipment as well as dual-use goods are used for international aggression and internal repression and must all be included in the common list of controlled items,
I. whereas, as the Code of Conduct lays down, special caution and vigilance must be exercised in issuing export licences to countries where serious violations of human rights have been established and more dialogue and information sharing between EU Member States would help to ensure that this provision is effectively implemented,
J. whereas the European Defence Industry is an important contributor to the EU economy and remains strategically important to the EU,
K. whereas enlargement will bring the EU’s borders closer to areas of instability,
L. whereas the Associated Countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Cyprus, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Canada have all agreed to align themselves with the principles of the EU Code of Conduct,
M. whereas increased transparency is needed for the achievement of better control of the arms trade,
N. whereas any regime for the control of arms exports would be most effective within a global context,
O. whereas efforts are being made in the framework of the United Nations to increase transparency in international arms trade in order to facilitate identification of possibly destabilising accumulations of weapons, in particular through the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA),
P. whereas the EU should firmly support these efforts and also seek to enhance its co-operation with other main exporters of arms, dual-use goods and other relevant equipment,
Q. whereas a European arms policy is an essential element in the gradual development of a common defence policy in the context of the CFSP and the establishment of a European Security and Defence Identity within NATO,
R. whereas the security situation confronting the EU is delicate and potentially dangerous and therefore requires an arms export policy with clearly defined objectives,
1. Believes that an EU policy on arms exports must:
a) ensure the consistency of the EU’s external action, including the Union's goals in conflict prevention and its promotion of human rights
b) satisfy the security imperatives of the EU
c) meet the needs and challenges of the European Defence Industry
d) contribute to the development of a Common Defence Policy;
2. Believes that a coherent and consistent arms export policy would strengthen the consolidation of the European Defence Industry;
3. Believes that the establishment of a European Armaments Agency to manage European projects would also be beneficial for the development of a common arms export policy;
4. Welcomes the evidence in the Annual Report that the Code has led to greater dialogue between Member States; welcomes, also, the decision of the Council Presidency to send the annual report to Parliament;
5. Believes that it is essential that the candidate countries should be actively involved in the further development of the Code;
6. Calls for the application of the Code to be extended to all states which have signed the Wassenaar arrangement; calls in particular for Member States to work towards a common understanding on arms export controls with the government of the U.S.A.;
7. Believes that Member States should only invoke article 296 in exceptional circumstances in which they regard their essential interests at risk;
8. While welcoming the EU joint action on small arms believes that greater effort is needed to control the legal and illegal proliferation of small arms and light weapons;
9. Believes that the Code of Conduct should be made legally binding;
10. Urges the Member States to rapidly finalise and put into effect the military items section of the common control list and to speed up the negotiations on the dual-use goods and civilian items (essentially police equipment) sections of that list;
11. Calls for the manufacturing of or trade in torture equipment to be prohibited in all EU Member States and for this prohibition to be extended also to EU citizens or EU companies operating in third countries;
12. Considers that countries which do not submit information to the UN's Register of Conventional Arms should be pressurised to do so in connection with the processing of applications for export licences to these countries;
As regards End-Use Monitoring
13. Believes that it is essential to make progress on the following:
i. Adoption of standardised models for end-use certificates and authorisations, and guidelines on end-use certification requirements
ii. Common guidelines restricting transfers of arms and military equipment to non-state actors
iii. Common procedures for verification of authorisations from importing states before licences are issued, including requirements for detailed information on transit routes and shipping agents, pre-notification of importing and transit states and use of authenticated documents
iv. Common procedures to verify delivery of the arms at the authorised end-user in the country of final destination
v. A common requirement for the national authorities in the recipient country to at least notify the exporting country before re-export or change of end-use
vi. The establishment or strengthening of information exchange and consultation arrangements amongst EU countries to assist with assessments of risks associated with certain end-uses, recipient countries or transit routes
vii. The establishment or strengthening of information exchange and co-ordination of responses amongst EU countries systems where there is evidence of non-compliance with end use agreements
viii.The establishment of a Community-wide database of information on licences and sensitive end
As regards Control of Licensed Production
14. Calls upon Member States to consider how best to prevent the licensed production of military equipment where there is a risk that the equipment will be transferred to sensitive and proscribed end-users;
15. Further calls on Member States to consider the feasibility of introducing extra-territorial powers to discourage the unlicensed transfer of military and paramilitary technology imported from the EU;
As regards Brokering
16. Believes that it is essential to control the buying and selling of arms by arms brokers;
17. Calls upon Member States to further develop and implement the proposals brought forward by the German government during their presidency;
18. Believes that such controls should apply to all EU passport holders and EU companies, regardless of from where they operate;
As regards Transparency
19. Calls upon those Member States who do not already publish annual reports on their arms exports to do so;
20. Calls upon the Council to consider how far the transparency of its annual reports on the implementation of the Code of Conduct can be enhanced;
21. Instructs its president to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments of the Member States and the Governments of the third countries who have agreed to align themselves with the principles of the EU Code of Conduct.
The Treaty of Amsterdam asserts that the external action of the EU is guided by values of democracy and the protection of human rights. It also states the Community’s commercial policy should be consistent with the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). In the field of arms exports this consistency cannot be said to exist fully, which weakens the CFSP and diminishes the credibility of a European Defence policy.
Arms export policy depends on the development of the European and international strategic context. During the Cold War the aim of the West in controlling exports was to prevent the export of high technology equipment to countries in the former Soviet bloc, through multilateral agreements such as COCOM. At the same time it tried to prevent third countries from developing programmes involving weapons of mass destruction and it tried to control the arms race in certain parts of the world. The destinations of the arms exports and the identity of the recipients were on the whole obvious.
The end of the Cold War changed the strategic context for arms sales and reduced demand. According to Pentagon estimates in 1994 the projected volume of the world arms trade for the 1991-2000 period was about 50% less than the figure for 1981-1990. The nature of global demand has changed from a context of rivalry between the two super powers and their clients to being motivated by regional or even internal conflicts. This raises serious questions about the protection of human rights and democracy in the field of arms exports. Many of the arms exported are being used in internal conflicts, some of which turn into humanitarian disasters, as in Rwanda or the former Yugoslavia. Despite the fall in global demand for arms many countries, particularly developing countries, are continuing to obtain substantial quantities of weapons on an increasingly competitive market.
The post Cold War strategic context for Europe is very different from that of the USA. The frontier of the EU, particularly along its southern edge is adjacent to areas of the world experiencing major instability and crises including the Maghreb countries, the Middle East, the Aegean and the Balkans. Enlargement to the east will bring the EU border closer to the unstable countries of the former Soviet Union and Turkey’s accession would give the EU a frontier with Syria, Iran and Iraq. Further south in the African continent there are a number of serious conflicts. The immediate scenario is one of worsening crises on the EU’s borders.
This challenging context raises two key issues. Firstly, Europe may need to intervene militarily. Secondly, in some circumstances it will need to export arms in order to create conditions for the resolution of these conflicts by local participants. This dual requirement necessitates a very careful arms export policy with clearly defined objectives in order to avoid situations such as those in the Gulf, Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda where troops from EU member states faced weapons supplied or financed by EU member states.
This is a very difficult issue to resolve particularly while there are in operation 15 different arms export policies. Unlike weapons of mass destruction which are subject to multilateral agreements and treaties, conventional weapons have virtually never been included in international accords except for the CFE Treaty which has been in force since 1992. Consequently trade in these weapons is almost entirely governed by national regulations which differ widely, making it difficult to monitor and control. Of particular concern is the trade in light weapons. There is no transparency and little control over the production, transfer and trade in light weapons, the market for which forms one of the main procurement sources for terrorist groups and organised crime.
There is a further factor to be taken into consideration – the state of the European defence industry. The situation of the industry has deteriorated in recent years as a result of surplus capacity, falls in demand, the fragmentation of the European Market and export difficulties due to greater competition from the USA. Nonetheless the industry remains very important to the European economy. It is a major employer, which operates often at the cutting edge of technology and as such is a major driver of high tech research. The industry has responded to the post cold war situation by shedding jobs and consolidating. It has emerged as a much leaner and more competitive industry. For it to thrive further however, the industry has to be able to operate within a clear framework. Part of that framework must be a coherent policy on arms exports. This is particularly so in view of the many cross border mergers which have taken place. Clearly different national regulations hinder the development of such multinational companies.
It follows therefore that European policy in the field of arms exports must satisfy four essential criteria:
1. It must ensure the consistency of the Union’s external action (including the Union’s goals in conflict prevention and its promotion of human rights).
2. It must satisfy the security imperative of the Union and its member states.
3. It must meet the needs and challenges of the European defence industries.
4. It must contribute to the development of a common defence policy.
The road towards an EU Code of Conduct and its publication
Prior to the end of the Cold War, controls on exports of arms by member states were applied solely under national legislation. Negotiations about these controls took place within international non-proliferation regimes such as COCOM. At the beginning of the 1990s three events took place, which caused member states to identify the need to co-operate in the control of exports. Firstly, the end of the Cold War changed the strategic situation. Secondly, the Gulf War demonstrated that Iraq’s military power had originated at least in part from technology and equipment provided by European companies in the 1980s. Thirdly, the Community was in the process of creating the single market and abolishing frontier controls making some form of common policy essential.
The main obstacle to progress, however, was Article 223 of the Treaty of Rome, which allows member states to exclude military weapons and equipment from the commercial policy of the Community. This has meant that progress has been largely based on inter-governmental co-operation and voluntary agreements rather than on community law.
In 1991 the European Council in Luxembourg of 28th and 29th June adopted seven criteria for arms exports. In 1992 the European Council in Lisbon (26th and 27th June) adopted an eighth criteria. To date all legislation on the export of arms and strategic goods applicable to EU countries including the code of conduct derives from these eight criteria. In September 1991 COARM was created. This is a working group of representatives of member states, which discusses ways of increasing co-ordination between the member states and of working towards a common interpretation of the eight criteria.
In 1994 the Council adopted a regulation setting up a community regime for the control of the export of dual use goods. On the same day the Council adopted a joint action based on article J3 of the Treaty of European Union with regard to the control of exports of dual use goods. The regulation contains provisions on the control of exports while the joint action specifies the list of goods subject to control and the guidelines for granting export authorisations. The hybrid nature of this regime, astride both the community and intergovernmental pillars of the Union, reflects the sensitivities of member states. In November 1997 the Commission presented a report on the practical application of this regime. It concluded "although the regime has as a whole achieved its objectives in terms of the internal market, it has failed to establish a credible common system of export controls, accepted by exporters and applied on a daily basis by customs services, due to a lack of convergence between the policies and national practices"
In June 1997 the Council adopted the EU programme on preventing and combating the illicit trafficking in conventional arms, which commits member states to strengthen national efforts, to strengthen intra-EU co-operation and to support efforts to third countries requesting EU assistance.
On 25th May 1998 the Council of the European Union adopted the Code of Conduct based on the common criteria adopted in Luxembourg and Lisbon. This was the result of a Franco-British proposal.
In December 1998 the EU joint action on small arms was adopted.
On the 11th October 1999 the General Affairs Council adopted the first annual report on the code of conduct. The European Parliament in its 7th October resolution on the code requested a presentation of the report for "consideration and debate". In the Foreign Affairs Committee on 12 October the Finnish Foreign Minister promised that she would formally present it to the Foreign Affairs Committee on the 24th November 1999.
Experiences of the implementation of the Code of Conduct
The 1999 Annual Report on the implementation of the Code of conduct shows that experiences have been positive.
"The code has increased mutual understanding of member state policies on conventional arms both directly through the circulation of denial notifications and consultations, and indirectly through contributing to a culture of greater transparency and openness"
" The unique consultation mechanism set out in the Code has been deemed to be efficient. A large number of denial notifications have been circulated and member states have engaged in active consultations of specific export licensing issues."
"The practical co-operation, based on the principles and operative provisions of the Code, contributes to a convergence of the arms export policies and procedures of the EU member states"
Some of the non-EU countries associated have begun to circulate information on their conventional arms export control procedures.
There remain issues to be "clarified and developed"
Priorities for co-ordinated action in the future, as outlined in the annual report
1. The finalisation of the common European List of military equipment is top priority. "It is necessary that this list reflect the present threats to international peace and security and to the respect of human rights. The list is to be a cornerstone of the Code of Conduct and should not be limited to the lowest common denominator of existing national control lists.
2 . Member States will seek to develop common understandings of what constitutes an "essentially identical transaction".
3. A fuller description of the reasons for refusal should be included in the denial notification.
4. Member states will continue to exchange information on national interpretations of UN, EU and OSCE embargoes with a view to developing common understandings and practices.
Further issues to be considered for future action
While the annual report reveals that a lot of progress has been made towards a coherent EU policy on arms exports there are a number of issues which need to be considered in addition to those highlighted in the report itself.
End Use Monitoring
Arguably the most important omission in the Code of Conduct is the fact that it has no provision for verifying the end–user of the exported weapons. It therefore offers no means for monitoring, nor of preventing, the re-export of weapons to recipients for whom export licenses would otherwise not have been granted. In the Cold War, where the destinations and recipients of arms were reasonably obvious for the most part, this was probably not a major issue. Today, with widespread ethnic and regional conflicts, the issue of end use is of prime importance. In all the major conflicts of the 1990s there has been evidence of EU arms ending up in the wrong hands.
1. Scope of the problem
In most national arms export control systems, applicants for an arms export licence are normally obliged to supply information on the type of goods, the end-user and the end-use to which they will be put. However, the design and stringency of national end-use assessment, certification and control systems currently vary significantly across the EU. Moreover they mostly remain too vulnerable to circumvention, forgery or non-compliance.
There are two key problems:
There are too many variations of end-use certificates in operation throughout the EU and too little commonality between them.
Monitoring and enforcement of end-use assurances differs throughout the EU, in terms of the number and scope of end-use certificates monitored and the allocation of resources to such ends. Indeed, most governments have traditionally been unwilling to monitor or enforce end-use assurances.
As a result of these differing levels of end-use controls, it is too easy for unscrupulous and irresponsible companies and end users to obtain and use arms for proscribed purposes.
2. Some examples of ‘best practice’
There is, therefore, a pressing need for the EU countries to agree on, and adopt, best practice in the field of end-use certification and monitoring. Examples of such practices are requirements for explicit assurances not to re-export equipment without prior consent (Belgium and Germany), post-export follow-up checks (Belgium and Germany), advanced export data collection systems (Germany and Sweden), a requirement that exporting companies ensure that all proposed exports to sensitive destinations are for civilian use only and a legal obligation for exporting companies to appoint a "Person Responsible for Exports", who can later be held accountable for any foreseeable diversion (Germany).
3. Options for developing a comprehensive control system
Some initial work on exploring the potential for harmonising end-use certification in the EU has already been undertaken within the EU Working Group, COARM. Also within the Wassenaar Arrangement (33 members from the EU, Central and Eastern Europe, North America and Asia) work is being done to develop more effective and common end-use certification. Similarly some candidate countries are also exploring the issue. At a regional conference in Sofia organised under the auspices of the Stability Pact, participants agreed a "Statement on the harmonisation of End-Use/ End-user Certificates"
Building on this work, the following points might be considered:
Adoption of standardised models for end-use certificates and authorisations, and guidelines on end-use certification requirements (including the information required on end-users).
Common guidelines restricting transfers of arms and military equipment to non-state actors.
A standard format might include, for example, full details on the end-user, including a description of the business in which they are engaged, and of the specific use to which the arms will be put. Certificates could also provide a written guarantee by the importing agency that they will not re-export the arms without the prior written consent of the exporting country. Under certain circumstances, it could also state that the recipient would not use the arms for proscribed purposes, including the committing of serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. Such guarantees would give end-use certificates the status of a legally binding contract, which, if broken, would provoke specific sanctions - including the refusal of spare parts or the revoking of a maintenance contract. Follow-up orders would also be rendered null and void. The more explicit the guarantees, the better-prepared governments can be to deal with these situations when they arise.
Common procedures for verification of authorisations from importing states before licences are issued, including requirements for detailed information on transit routes and shipping agents, pre-notification of importing and transit states and use of authenticated documents.
Common procedures to verify delivery of the arms at the authorised end-user in the country of final destination.
A common requirement for the national authorities in the recipient country to at least notify the exporting country before re-export or change of end-use.
In cases where a serious risk of diversion or re-export has emerged since an export occurred, Embassy or Consular staff, accompanied by representatives of the company which manufactured the equipment could be required to investigate its whereabouts and use. It would be crucial, therefore, for end-use certificates to include a clause, which permits the exporting government to follow up the equipment in cases where diversion or re-export is suspected. Clearly such checks would not be required in all cases. However, the deterrent effect of such a clause might help reduce instances of misuse.
The establishment or strengthening of information exchange and consultation arrangements amongst EU countries to assist with assessments of risks associated with certain end-users, recipient countries or transit routes.
The establishment or strengthening of information exchange and co-ordination of responses amongst EU countries systems where there is evidence of non-compliance with end-use agreements.
The efficient functioning of end-use controls requires co-operation on intelligence gathering and analysis. Although some intelligence dissemination does occur within the other non-proliferation regimes, and between individual member states on an ad hoc basis, a more co-ordinated and systematic approach by EU member states will probably be necessary. There may also be scope to adapt and develop existing co-operative structures between police forces, intelligence services and justice ministries to the control of small arms.
Finally, the absence of a Community-wide database of information on licences and sensitive end-users is also a cause for concern. A potential model is the existing KOBRA system used in Germany or the Schengen Information System (SIS). An EU-wide computer system could also be responsible for updating and explaining new export control guidelines to companies; alerting suppliers to new techniques used by front companies and countries to circumvent regulations; and share intelligence information throughout an enlarged EU via a computer network.
Control of Licensed Production
Licensed production, the system where one company enables a company in another country to manufacture its products under licence, is increasingly supplementing or even replacing direct exports of military equipment and weaponry. In many EU countries, such licensed production agreements are inadequately controlled or not controlled at all.
In view of the fact that such licensed production arrangements can often result in the establishment of new centres of production of military equipment over which the licensing government can have little or no control, these agreements must be subject to greater restrictions than are standard export agreements.
EU member states should not allow the licensed production of military equipment where there is a risk that this equipment will be transferred to sensitive and proscribed end-users. Beyond this, the EU member states could introduce US-style extra-territorial powers (which prohibit the re-export of US technology without US government consent), in order to discourage recipients from engaging in the unlicensed transfer of military and paramilitary technology imported from the EU.
The EU Code makes no reference to controls on the activities of EU arms brokers and shipping agents. These are companies or individuals that organise or are involved in the transfer of arms from third countries to their customers, without the weapons touching EU soil. Although some states such as the USA, Sweden and Germany have regulations which control the activities of arms brokers, the vast majority of EU states do not, leaving the brokers free to ply their trade virtually as they please. Recently EU brokers have been linked with arms shipments to Eritrea.
During its EU Presidency, the German government brought forward proposals to provide for a system to control the buying and selling of arms by arms brokers, as well as their acting as intermediaries by bringing suppliers and recipients or arms together. The system would require arms brokers situated in EU member states to apply for authorisation before they enter into each transaction. The proposed controls would cover transactions involving goods listed under the seven categories of major conventional weapons as detailed in the UN Register of Conventional Arms Transfers
and the EU Joint Action on small arms. Although these proposals constitute a major step in the right direction, they still contain a number of dangerous omissions.
To be effective, EU controls should apply to all EU passport holders wherever they live, and to any company or individual resident or registered in the EU. Such measures would help to ensure that European brokers were unable to escape regulation simply by stepping outside the EU. In addition, all EU member states should require nationals, who are arms brokering agents, to register as such and to publish their audited accounts relating to arms trading. Agents who break laws regulating arms exports or deliberately supply misleading information about their arms transactions should be prosecuted and banned from any further arms brokering.
The Annual Report provides information about the number of export licences denied, and the number of bilateral consultations which took place when a country intended to provide an export licence for an item previously denied a licence by another country. The report however does not provide information on the result of the consultations so making impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of the mechanism. Furthermore the report does not provide information about: -
the numbers and types of weapons for which export licences were requested and /or denied
the names of the exporting countries and the recipient countries
the reasons for the denial of export licences.
Clearly without this information it is not possible to get a full picture of the effectiveness of the Code.
Concern has also been expressed about the fact that the Code only foresees bilateral discussions between the country wishing to grant a licence and the country which had previously refused it. There is a view that these consultations should take place between all 15-member states.
The difficulty here, as with all aspects of the Code, is that the perspectives of the member states are so diverse in this field. Member states can be grouped into four categories.
The major arms producing and exporting countries - UK, Germany and France
Countries which are members of NATO and have significant defence industry capacity - Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Belgium
Countries which are members of NATO with a small defence capacity - Portugal, Greece, Denmark and Luxembourg
Non NATO members - Austria, Finland, Ireland and Sweden (which has major defence industry capacity)
Given this wide variety of interest, it is perhaps surprising that the Code of Conduct was even agreed at all! It is probably too early and possibly counter productive to be making detailed demands of the reporting system. Rather, as is clear from the annual report, the operation of the Code will bring a gradual convergence of procedures. Transparency would be however greatly enhanced if all Governments were to publish an annual report on their arms exports. The British Government published annual reports on arms exports in 1997 and 1998 which were regarded as comprehensive. If all governments were to do the same, then the consolidated Annual Report would be much clearer and more precise.
The Code of Conduct was a major step forward for the EU. The publication of the annual report was also a major advance. It is clear from the report that the Code has led to a greater understanding between member states. Far greater progress towards a coherent and consistent EU policy on arms exports has been made than many predicted when the report was adopted in 1998. Such an EU policy on arms exports is essential for the development of a European security and defence policy.
Both the Code of Conduct and the annual report have weaknesses, which are outlined in this report. It is the opinion of your rapporteur however that we should focus on four priorities.
1. The Code of Conduct should be legally binding
2. Member states should agree on a common list of items to which the code applies
3. There should be a common system of end-use monitoring
4. Progress should be made on the German Government’s proposals for regulation of brokering and trafficking.
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