More than box-ticking?
Arms transfer reporting in the EU
So far only 18 out of 27 Member States publish national reports on transfers of military technology and equipment, despite being legally obliged to do so by the 2008 EU Common Position. This is important because a lack of transparency in arms transfer decision-making can lead to:
- reduced pressure on governments to address poor practice;
- problematic arms shipments escaping scrutiny; and
- undermined confidence in the arms transfer control system.
This report identifies which States do not report, and reviews the national reports of those that do. It focuses on instances of particularly good and bad practice, including frequency, timeliness and the user-friendliness of the information provided. The report looks at what should reasonably be contained in a national report on arms transfers through a set of ‘minimum elements for effective reporting’, including information on all types of licences granted; information on denials and revocations of licences; and information on deliveries.
Of these ‘minimum elements’, the report reveals that those Member States which do produce national reports tend to provide information on their policies and structures, and to report on export licences granted as well as, to a lesser extent, actual exports. On some other aspects of transfer control practice, however, Member States as a whole are disappointingly opaque. Very few states report on, for example, re-export, transit, incorporation, licensed production or licence revocations. The overwhelming impression is that Member States’ reporting is failing to keep up with changes to the conventional arms trade and its regulation across the EU. The increasing sophistication and complexity of Member States’ transfer control systems require an equivalent improvement in the quality of national reporting.
Date: November 2010