I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia[*], Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
The EU supports the principles of cooperation, responsibility, and transparency in the international arms trade, enshrined in the Arms Trade Treaty. Transparency and reporting are key elements leading to confidence building among States and ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Treaty. Reporting on arms exports and imports represents one of the cornerstone obligations of the ATT. We therefore reiterate our call on all States Parties to fulfill their reporting obligations in a timely and transparent manner.
It is regrettable that since our last discussion on this issue, the number of reports has decreased substantially for the period of 2019. We hope to see better figures this year and would like to take the opportunity to draw attention to the upcoming deadline for submitting the annual report for 2020. We commend all States Parties that have already filed their annual report for 2020 and encourage others to follow suit without delay, and to share their reports publicly.
There are many reasons for the current low reporting rate, and we must discuss these and find practical ways to overcome them. The EU stands ready to assist, and in this regard, we recall that the EU Outreach Program, of an amount of 9 million Euro, has been extended for another year in October 2020. Among the initiatives that can be developed under this Program are those aiming at strengthening national reporting capabilities and making national reporting procedures more efficient, in line with the provisions of the Treaty. States in need are also encouraged to make a good use of the Voluntary Trust Fund for the purpose of establishing or improving their reporting capabilities.
On our side, the 22nd EU Annual Report on exports of military technology and equipment represents a significant tool in enhancing transparency in the international arms trade. Released in October 2020, the report is publicly available in the form of a searchable online database on the website of the European External Action Service. It allows stakeholders and interested members of the public to consult and analyse the data on Member States’ arms exports in a user-friendly manner. Yet again, the EU annual report displays the number and value of authorized exports for all destination countries, the type of military technology involved and the number of denials per type of military technology and destination country, as well as the criteria that were invoked as the reason for the denial. All this information is publicly available, accessible to all.
We reaffirm our commitment to transparency in international arms trade, and we have taken a number of concrete measures in order to facilitate correct, coherent and timely reporting on Member Sates’ arms exports. We call on all States Parties to decide in favour of the option of non-confidential reporting, which clearly increases the relevance of the reports and facilitates accountability for export decisions. .
We are grateful to the ATT Secretariat for their continued sharing of updates on the number of Initial and Annual Reports, which help us to track progress.
Thank you, Madame/Mr. Co-Chair
[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.