Arms export laws

When exporting technology and military equipment from the EU, the exporter has to apply for an arms export license with the national government. Under the Common Position, EU countries are obligated to check the application against 8 ethical criterial. Some third States have aligned themselves with the Common Position, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro and Norway.

The EU Common Position for the export of military equipment and technology reads as follows:

1) EU Member States will not issue export licences which contravene with their international commitments of Member states, such as sanctions decided by the UN Security Council or the European Union, agreements on non proliferation or other subjects made by the Member State itself.  Furthermore an export license should be refused if approval would be inconsistent with, inter alia: the international obligations of Member States under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

2) EU Member States will not issue export licences if the country of final destination is violating human rights and fundamental freedoms or if there is a clear risk that such weapons could be used for internal repression.

3) EU Member States will not issue export licences if the internal situation in the country of final destination is characterised by tension or armed conflicts if such export could provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts.

4) EU Member States will not issue export licences if there is a clear risk that the intended recipient would use the proposed export aggressively against another country or to assert by force a territorial claim.

5) When considering an application for an export licence, EU Member States will take into account their national security and that of other Member States or other allied countries.

6) When considering an application for an export licence, EU Member States will take into account the behaviour of the buyer country with regard to the international community, and especially its attitude to terrorism, the nature of its alliances and respect for international law

7) EU Member States will not issue export licences if there is a risk that the equipment will be diverted within the buyer country or re-exported under undesirable conditions.

8 When considering an application for an export licence, EU Member States will take into account whether the proposed export would seriously hinder sustainable development of the recipient country. They will consider in this context the recipient country’s relative levels of military and social expenditure and any EU or bilateral aid.

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