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S&Ds denounce conservatives and liberals for rejecting sanctions for non-respect of EU arms export rules


17 Sep 2020



The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament denounce the conservatives and the liberals for demonstrating double standards on the protection of human rights. Yesterday, a coalition of EPP, Renew, ECR and far-right ID MEPs rejected the Socialists and Democrats’ proposal to establish a system of sanctions against member states that export arms to countries which violate the terms of the EU’s Common Position on arms exports.  

The S&Ds’ rejected proposal was part of a report, adopted in the plenary session, that assesses how member states implement and comply with the EU’s common rules on the export of weapons, which were agreed in 2008.

 Joachim Schuster MEP, S&D negotiator for the arms export report, said:

“As Europeans we are committed to ensuring that weapons produced in the EU are not exported to regimes that violate human rights. That is why, already in 2008, all member states agreed on the Common Position. This legally binding document lays down rules for the export of military technology and equipment to third countries. Sadly, we see that some member states continue to export arms to countries such as Saudi Arabia, thereby failing to uphold our shared duty to prevent reprehensible human rights abuses.

“In the report as adopted in today’s plenary session, we reiterate our firm call for an EU arms embargo on states that violate the Common Position, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. But that is not enough. We need an institutional mechanism that allows for the enforcement of the Common Position. In the vote on the report in the foreign affairs committee, the S&Ds therefore successfully introduced a proposal for a sanctions mechanism to be put in place against member states that violate these agreed-upon EU criteria for exporting arms. Unfortunately, this proposal was defeated by a right-wing majority in the plenary. This is an absolute embarrassment for parties that call themselves defenders of human rights while voting against binding rules at the EU level to prevent EU weapons from being used to commit human rights violations.”

Sven Mikser MEP, S&D spokesperson on defence, added: 

“We want the EU to be a global actor for peace committed to non-proliferation of arms and global disarmament. As the EU is more and more ambitious in the defence area, we need more convergence and consistency of the member states' arms export policies. 

“The increase of the competitiveness of the European defence sector and industrial interests of member states must in no way undermine human rights, international humanitarian law, preservation of regional stability or risk of diversion.

“The S&Ds also note and welcome the EU’s activities aiming at supporting the universalisation of the Arms Trade Treaty and call on all the major arms-exporting countries, such as the US, China and Russia, to sign and ratify it as soon as possible.”


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