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Belgium insists on transparency around EU arms exports

Member States updated on Monday the common position on arms exports control. Credit: Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs.

European foreign ministers advance this week on an EU “common position” on the arms export control but failed to strengthen the evaluation criteria regarding human rights.

Member States updated on Monday the common position, which was from 2008 and contains criteria to be verified by EU governments before issuing arms export licenses. 

These criteria normally assess the respect for human rights in the destination country and the risk that exported weapons could have on peace, security and stability of the country/region. 

“On a proposal from Belgium, the new version of the common position strengthens the rules on reporting, which will improve transparency and mutual exchange of information between Member States. Moreover, corruption and related violence are given more attention,” Foreign Affairs said in a statement. 

However, a consensus was not found within the EU for stricter evaluation criteria regarding human rights, and on the diversion of arms to unauthorized users through well-intentioned buyers, the department deplored.

The Brussels Times