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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU countries to sign UN Arms Trade Treaty

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06/02/2014 EURO-MPs have voted for the EU to endorse international efforts to halt the arms trade.

Although the EU can’t sign the UN Arms Trade treaty itself – only countries can sign UN treaties, MEPs now hope all 28 EU members will quickly ratify the Treaty so it can enter into force.

The Arms Trade Treaty aims to limit trade in weapons with a view to reducing the contribution of arms to not only human rights and humanitarian abuses, genocide, crimes against humanity and regional tensions, but also to organised crime and terrorism.

Weapons sales, and transfers to other states under loan agreements, must all be regulated under the terms of the Treaty, which was agreed at a UN conference on the arms trade last year.

The Treaty’s swift adoption into force due to prompt ratification by all EU countries would be a step forward for peace, according to London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert, but it’ll stop well short of the complete ban on weapon sales we need.

Speaking after MEPs agreed to back the Treaty, Ms Lambert said:

“The implementation of the Treaty is crucial. To this end, EU member states need to clearly define the term trade and transfer and to make sure that they are willing to regulate all kinds of arms transfers, as well as loans. How new weapons technologies that have changed military intervention, like drones, should be dealt with remains open unfortunately, as this technology is not covered by the ATT.

“We need to decide how we want to develop and manage the different export control regimes within the EU. There should be a single, clear and strong management structure, which is tasked with oversight, and ensuring coherence and transparency. The current division of labour between the Commission, the External Action Service, the Council and member state governments is unclear and creates confusion – we need greater clarity so that arms deals which aren’t done in one country, won’t be done by its neighbour instead. We also need a formal role for the Parliament in arms control and the implementation of all EU export rules.”