The Flemish Peace Institute is an independent
institute for peace research at the Flemish Parliament.

Reviewing the EU Common Position on arms exports: whither EU arms transfer controls?

Publication date: 03/12/2019

For almost 30 years the European Union (EU) has attempted to achieve greater convergence of its member states’ arms export policies. Since the adoption of the EU’s Common Position on arms exports in 2008, two review processes have taken place.

This paper analyses these processes and argues that the credibility and political relevance of the 2008 Common Position on Arms Exports and the Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM) are currently at stake. Both the Common Position and COARM risk losing sight of their original goals and becoming – or reinventing themselves as – mere platforms for sharing national views on arms exports and disseminating information on denied licences. As a result, their initial purpose of instituting a more restrictive and convergent European arms export policy will have less impact.

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