Delegation of the European Union to Albania

Arms Trade Treaty - Working Group on Effective Treaty Implementation

Geneva, 05/02/2020 - 12:11, UNIQUE ID: 200205_10
Statements on behalf of the EU

Key EU Messages Arms Trade Treaty Working Group on Effective Treaty Implementation Geneva, 4 - 5 February 2020

Mr. Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union            .

The Candidate Countries Montenegro[1], Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.

I would like to congratulate the Republic of Korea and you personally on agreeing to chair this important Working Group, which, over the past three years, has provided a most useful venue to States Parties to exchange information and good practices and to openly discuss challenges related to Treaty implementation.

Good progress has already been made. We have concluded work on Article 5 (General implementation) by the adoption of guidance documentation. We welcome your proposal to engage States discussing elements of a possible voluntary training guide to assist States in their national implementation of Articles 6 and 7 while recalling that Treaty implementation remains a national responsibility. In this respect, the extensive, comprehensive and recently reviewed User’s Guide to the EU Common Position could constitute a useful reference point. We also welcome the initiation of work on Article 9 (Transit or transhipment) which is a topic that concerns all States Parties.

The work plans, prepared by the facilitators of each subgroup, will help to steer discussion on the priority issues and may result in the adoption of further guidance documents to facilitate Treaty implementation by States Parties at national level.

Article 6 and 7 (Prohibitions & Export and Export Assessment)

We welcome the work of the Spanish facilitator on unpacking key concepts under Articles 6 and 7 and encourage all States Parties to contribute with their national practice.

The EU wishes to contribute to the debate with an update on the Review of the 2008 EU Common Position on the control of arms exports. The Council of the EU finalised on 16 September 2019 the review process in order to take into account developments such as the entry into force of the ATT. The ATT has explicitly been incorporated into the text of the revised Common Position along with the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Other changes concern the application of the criteria in Article 2 of the EU Common Position and the consultation procedure provided for in Article 4. They now apply to dual-use goods and technology, as specified in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 428/2009, where there are serious grounds for believing that the end-user of such goods and technology will be the armed forces or internal security forces, or similar entities in the recipient country.

In this context, we recall the EU’s commitment to strengthening the control of the export of military technology and equipment and to reinforce cooperation and promote convergence in the field of export of military technology and equipment within the framework of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. It does this through the setting, upholding and implementation of high common standards for the management of transfers of military technology and equipment by all EU Member States. The licensing remains the most effective way of control in our view.

Furthermore, the EU reaffirms that military equipment and technology should be traded in a responsible and accountable way. It renews its commitment to promote cooperation and convergence in EU Member States' policies to prevent the export of military technology and equipment which might be used for internal repression, human rights abuses including gender based violence (GBV), violations of international humanitarian law, international aggression, or contribute to regional instability.

With regard to transparency, the EU announces the development of a searchable online database on the website of the European External Action Service that will allow all stakeholders to consult and analyse the data on EU Member States’ arms exports in a user-friendly manner.

Article 9 (Transit or transhipment)

Although Article 9 of the ATT leaves quite some room for States Parties to decide how to deal with transit and trans-shipment control, it is important to stress that Article 6 on prohibited transfers clearly also applies to transit and trans-shipment. States Parties should, as a minimum, be able to ensure they are not facilitating prohibited transfers. Capacity building and sharing of relevant intelligence is essential in enabling smaller transit States in abiding by their treaty obligations.

Article 11 (Diversion)

Preventing diversion of conventional arms is a key ATT objective and a priority for further work. We support further voluntary exchange of information on illicit arms flows and diversion trends and compiling best practices on preventing and addressing diversion. Keeping other States informed of the risks of diversion is essential to prevent military grade arms ending up in the wrong hands. Sharing concrete information on identified diversion among States Parties should be encouraged.

As required by the EU Common Position on arms exports, each EU Member State has committed itself to assessing whether there is a risk that the military equipment will be diverted within the buyer country, or re-exported under undesirable conditions.

The risk of diversion is explicitly included as one of the eight criteria in the EU Common Position. An important indicator in this regard is the diversion track record of the declared end-user as well as, where appropriate, their record in respecting re-export provisions of prior transactions. 

In its analysis of the risk of diversion, the EU Member State will take into account, for example, whether the equipment can be easily diverted, then easily used even by non-military agents, and/or incorporated into other systems; or whether some equipment could be the subject of special attention under this heading, such as small arms and light weapons (including MANPADS), ammunition, military grade explosives and night-vision and light-intensifying equipment.

EU Member States take the diversion criterion very seriously as illustrated by the fact that it is the most invoked for denying an export license application.

Furthermore, the EU counters diversion by supporting capacity development on tracing by law enforcement agencies and capacities to track the origins of illicit weapons in conflict affected areas. All this with a view to identifying points of diversion and cutting arms supply to identified diverters in the framework of arms export control.

Finally, I would like to inform you that in July 2019, a new EU Council Decision was adopted in support of a dialogue among civil society organisations in Africa, China and Europe with a view to increasing understanding and cooperating on preventing the diversion of arms and ammunition in Africa.

Thank you, Mr. Chair


[1] Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.