Reviewing EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP: Some food for thought
The legally-binding EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP sets out the rules EU member states are obliged to follow when deciding whether to approve conventional arms transfers. But ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have exposed significant problems with respect to the arms export policies of European Union (EU) member states and with cross-EU implementation of the Common Position – calling into question whether its goals are being achieved.
This paper examines the text of the Common Position, outlines where there are problems in implementation, and recommends ways that EU states can work to improve the text and then to improve compliance. It considers several important questions around the Common Position criteria, the legal basis of the document and the adequacy of accountability mechanisms.