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My report on arms exports has been confirmed by the Foreign Affairs Committee

The EU adopted rules for arms exports to non-EU countries 12 years ago. The Convention lays down criteria for banning the export of arms, particularly where there is a risk of their use in armed conflict or human rights violations.

But: these requirements are interpreted very differently by the Member States. One example is arms supplies to Saudi Arabia, which is involved in the Yemen war. Some EU member states have imposed an arms export ban - because of reports of war crimes in Yemen - while others continue to export.

In the EU there is increasing cooperation in defence production. The Eurofighter, for example, is produced in Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain. Nevertheless, export decisions continue to be taken solely at national level. So if a country like Germany decides to stop exports to Saudi Arabia, jointly produced weapon systems can still be exported via another EU member state. In addition, reporting by EU Member States on their arms exports varies widely, making transparency and comparability difficult.

All these grievances are addressed in my report on arms exports, which has just been confirmed by the Foreign Affairs Committee. In the report we as MEPs stress the need for parliamentary and public scrutiny of arms exports and make concrete proposals for more transparency. It also addresses the increase in EU-funded projects in the armaments sector and a monitoring mechanism at EU level demanded. The report welcomes the decision by some Member States to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia and recalls the call on EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell to ensure an EU-wide arms embargo.

The Foreign Affairs Committee adopts my report

On Monday the Arms Export Report was adopted by a majority of 33 votes in favour, 11 against and 26 abstentions adopted in the Foreign Affairs Committee. It will be put to the vote in plenary session after the summer recess.

Arms exports need parliamentary and public control. With increasing EU cooperation and funding in defence production, EU supervision and regulation is becoming increasingly necessary. The report calls for clear progress in this respect and should serve as a guide for Member States and the Commission in the coming years.

MEP Hannah Neumann, Rapporteur Tweet

The official press release of the European Parliament

"MEPs adopt a report on the implementation of EU arms export rules"
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