Adjunto la meva intervenció d’avui en el marc del Seminari Informal sobre control de les Exportacions d’Armes de la UE i sobre el procés d’adopció d’un Tractat Internacional sobre transferències d’armament que té lloc els dies 8 a 10 de gener a Berlin, sota la presidència alemanya de la UE.
Towards an International Arms Trade Treaty, by Raül Romeva, EP Rapporteur on Arms Transfers Controls (Berlin 9 January 2007).
I would like to begin by thanking the Presidency for inviting me, as European Parliament Rapporteur on the Code of Conduct, to discuss how we might fully support efforts towards an International Arms Trade Treaty. (segueix…)
I would like to add that I accept such an invitation as a further positive sign of a developing dialogue between the European Parliament and the Presidency on issues related to the Code of Conduct. I look forward to scrutinsing the Code in more detail on 29 January when the Chair of COARM will come before the Sub-Committee on Security and Defence. Today, instead, we will focus upon the issue of the Arms Trade Treaty.
Before I move on, let me underline a clear message: the European Parliament sees support for the establishment of an Arms Trade Treaty and the Code of Conduct as separate but complimentary processes. We believe that by strengthening the Code, not least by transforming it without any further delay into a Common Position, we can lead by example and provide concrete lessons learned in the establishment of a robust international Arms Trade Treaty.
Little more than a year has passed since, in October 2005, the European Council under the UK Presidency gave its unanimous support towards the establishment of an Arms Trade Treaty.
It is therefore appropriate as well as consistent that Mr Massey has given us such a clear overview of the developments that led to the breakthrough General Assembly Resolution on 6 December last year, as well as his views on the next steps towards establishing a robust Arms Trade Treaty.
The need for an ATT is therefore clear. Not only has the devastating socio-economic and humanitarian consequences of Small Arms and Light Weapons been made abundantly clear by work around such processes as the UNPoA, but other conventional weapons are also beginning to be seen in a similar light, most recently cluster bomb munitions in Lebanon which have been discussed widely at the recent Conventional Weapons Convention Review Conference.
We can see a clear public interest arising from an awareness of the link between arms exports and contemporary conflict. There is also, I am sure you will agree, a clear security interest in achieving a strong ATT.
Furthermore, data by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is highlighting new worrying trends whereby the decline in military expenditures of the 1990s is showing signs of a reversal. Whilst most of this is due to increases in US spending, European companies remain prominent arms exporters. The need for Europeans to be acting ?responsibly? is therefore paramount.
Another emerging trend also highlights the need for tackling conventional weapons other than SALW. Small Arms have been the weapon of choice in some of the poorest and unstable regions of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, which causes regional instability and poses a threat to both civilians and international peacekeepers. Yet, there is also the threat from ?regional instability? where there is a growing flow of conventional weapons to more developed parts of the world, areas such as India and China that are central to the economic stability of the global economy.
With the failure under the UNPoA to achieve a final outcome document and in particular to agree upon a follow up mechanism, the need to move quickly in laying solid foundations for an ATT is critical.
We should not be naïve, we must learn from the UNPoA process, as well as other conventional weapons control efforts to build consensus and convince key reluctant states of the need to frame current increases in military expenditure, sale and transfer within robust legal frameworks. This should include an emphasis upon ?responsibility? on state and non-state actors, respect for human rights, the need to ensure ?regional stability? and consistency with development policies.
In short, a robust ATT that works to reduce the devastating consequences of growing arms sales and transfers, building upon existing international humanitarian law and where the principle of ?responsibility to protect? applies not only to our obligations to intervene to protect civilians in a state of conflict but to our decisions on arms exports.
I am proud to say that the European Parliament has from the outset supported calls for an Arms Trade Treaty.
In recent years the focus for such a position has been set out in EP Resolutions under my stewardship on the Council’s Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Annual Reports of the EU Code of Conduct as well as one specifically on Small Arms.
During this time dialogue with COARM has also been strengthened, which led to the EP?s participation in the EU Presidency delegation to the UN Review Conference on the Programme of Action. For that occasion the EP adopted a specific resolution on 15 June 2006 recognising the steps taken by the European Council and called for:
"the international community to start negotiations on an International Arms Trade Treaty within the United Nations directly after the 2006 UN Programme of Action Review Conference".
As we have just heard the General Assembly Resolution stated that certain steps of consultation need to be taken before we arrive at a point where negotiations can begin. This period of consultation, which I intend to follow closely, provides us with an important moment to work on the substance of the ATT and crucially to build broad coalitions of support amongst like-minded states as well as to reach out to those less convinced.
The European Parliament is well situated to take part in supporting this process. Not only do we intend to pursue such issues with you, the Member States, through our regular dialogues at COARM and in the European Parliament, but we have already started to reach out and build international support for an ATT through our own parliamentary networks and contacts with civil society and specialist non-governmental organisations.
This has included cooperation with the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons. But also through the EP’s own established regional relationships such as the EU-Africa Caribbean and Pacific Joint Parliamentary Assembly. In fact on the 18 November 2006 in Bridgetown Barbados, the Standing Committee on Political affairs of the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution on small arms and light weapons and sustainable development. This resolution built on the existing work of the EP’s Resolutions on the Code of Conduct in promoting the ATT.
The resolution is a notable example of the EP’s reach (its Parliamentary Diplomacy) in promoting the ATT because it has joint ownership with a Rapporteur from the EP and one from the ACP countries. In the process of developing the report the EP invited the Commission and the Personal Representative of the High Representative for CFSP to brief the members on the position of the Council. The EP was also able to use the report to build coalitions with members from parliaments in the ACP countries to support the ATT.
I hope we can continue to develop our dialogue on the ATT and related issues in order to ensure that all the EU’s levers of outreach including its Parliamentary outreach can be used in our common aspiration to achieve a robust and effective international Arms Trade Treaty.
Of course in order to take full advantage of all the instruments available to the EU in building support for the ATT we must take our discussions a step further than "process" and begin a real dialogue on the "substance" of an effective treaty.
Before referring directly to the ATT, I reiterate my belief that as a prerequisite for international success it is paramount we continue to strengthen the Code. This must be done in a transparent and open manner, including issuing a Common Position, and that is publicly recognised to be part of the EU and its Member States efforts to be a "responsible arms producer".
Being a responsible arms producer and exporter means greater effort is needed to apply "all" the Code’s criteria and that "all" exports can be publicly justified against the criteria.
You may say ?but hang on we do this anyway?. Unfortunately though, controversial deals done in recent years have left a perception that we now have a 9th and 10th criteria which are more important than the other 8 i.e. "jobs" and "defence industry interests"!
I offer this as a passing criticism to be taken with you. You know I am a strong supporter of the hard work that you do in COARM, but I am also asked to justify why the Code does not prevent controversial deals and whether the EU is taking sufficient steps to be a responsible actor in this field.
Moving on to the ATT:
At this first seminar I do not think there is any need to reinvent the wheel. There are a number of proposals on the table that could form part of the substance of ensuring a robust ATT.
I recognise the political sensitivity for Europeans not to be seen as promoting or thrusting our own Criteria in the Code upon other countries and regions. We have faced this issue when adopting the SALW resolution for New York and in our joint EP-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly Resolution. Nevertheless we have found enough other concerned partners who, through dialogue, have helped us to develop proposals that capture the criteria and are more generally acceptable.
Non-governmental organisations have developed a Draft Model Convention and put forward 6 global principles to be considered for the ATT. I will briefly set them out here and ask your comments on these and others:
? All arms transfers must be explicitly authorised by all states with jurisdiction over any part of the Transfer.
? Transfers that would violate expressed obligations under international law must be prohibited.
? Transfers that will be used or are likely to be used for violations of international law must not be authorised.
? Other factors regarding the likely use of the arms or ammunition – for example that they would be used to adversely affect regional security or stability, or sustainable development?must be taken into account before authorising an arms transfer.
? Comprehensive national annual reports on all international arms and ammunition transfers must be submitted to an international registry, which shall compile and publish a comprehensive, international annual report.
? Common standards must be established for specific mechanisms to control all import and export of arms and ammunition; brokering arms and ammunition activities; transfers of arms and ammunition production capacity and the transit and trans-shipment of arms and ammunition.
These seem like a sensible starting point and have many similarities with the criteria of the Code. I would also hope that in pursuing effective multilateralism an ATT would also have a role for the UN Secretariat in overseeing the implementation and enforcement of any such agreement.
Thank you all for listening and to the German Presidency for inviting us here. I have been very pleased by our growing dialogue over recent years.
I assure you we will follow up on the efforts towards an ATT and that in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue we will keep you informed. This is an area of mutual interest in the EU and to those affected by the arms trade around the world including future generations.
On such an important topic it is essential that all EU resources are mobilised behind achieving a broad and significant international consensus. I assure you that the EP will continue to do its part.
Foto: India és un dels principals compradors d’armes a escala internacional. Font: BBC