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AITJ welcomes the approval of the EP's Report on arms export

Association against Impunity and for Transitional Justice welcomes the European Parliament's approval by a large majority on the report on arms exports. We agree with the words of the Rapporteur Hon. Neumann (Greens/EFA, DE) in declaring that “this report recognizes that increasing European cooperation and EU funding in arms production and development requires EU-level monitoring and control”.

AITJ condemns the growing arms race in the world and recalls the EU's ambition to be a global player for peace, the rules set out in this report, in line with European values, needs to have precedence over any national economic, social, commercial or industrial interests. We believe that the common position already expressed in the Council's decision (CFSP) 2019/1560 should have been translated into community law to ensure coherence, accountability and greater coordination between European countries in the field of arms exports. Furthermore, AITJ hopes that the European Parliament will soon be able to approve a mechanism for sanctions against non-compliant Member States.

The countries of the Middle East and North Africa, a region in which many armed conflicts are taking place, remain the main destination for arms exports and it is therefore necessary to assess on a case-by-case basis, according to the criteria established (Common Position 2008/944/CFSP), that the supply of arms by EU Member States does not increase the possibility of instability in the region. Critically, these weapons have also been and will continue to be used for internal repression and to silence opposition leaders or human rights activists, such as in Saudi Arabia, the UAE as well as in Bahrein and Egypt. As highlighted in the report, Member States should follow the example of Germany, Finland and Denmark, which, after the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, adopted restrictions on their arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

Independent survey (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) show that arms exports from the EU-28 amounted to some 26 % of the global total in 2015-2019, collectively making the EU-28 the second largest arms supplier in the world after the USA (36%) and followed by Russia (21%). In conclusion, AITJ support the Council's commitment to strengthen the control of exports of military technology and equipment and hopes that the EU will continue to strengthen Member States' capacities to implement robust procedures for monitoring compliance with EU arms embargoes by all Member States and to make their results public.

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