Romania's arms transfer control system at EU accession: an analysis

Since the end of the Cold War, Romania's policy on transfer controls for arms and dual-use goods and technologies (ADGT) has undergone substantial revision, from one focused on maintaining the national military-industrial base and maximising exports regardless of their consequences, to one more in line with international best practice in the field. In particular, and in preparation for its accession to the European Union (EU) on 01 January 2007, Romania has adopted new laws and regulations to bring it into line with EU standards on ADGT transfer controls and has given state institutions clear mandates in line with its EU commitments. Most importantly, the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports (EU Code) now appears to be well understood and generally accepted by the relevant Romanian officials. As a result of these legislative and attitudinal changes, Romanian practice on licensing exports has improved from a low point in the 1990s, when Romanian arms reached a range of sensitive destinations, including Rwanda, the forces of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nevertheless, in 2004, the last year for which detailed information on transfers was available to the research team, a significant proportion of Romanian exports continued to reach sensitive destinations such as Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel and Pakistan, where there are serious concerns over human rights abuses and/or the potential for the exports to fuel conflict.

This report analyses and assesses Romania's legislation, regulation and capacity on areas such as brokering, production, end-use; licensing of transfers, transparency and reporting, alongside adherence to international commitments on arms exports. It outlines a number of key recommendations for the Government and the international community to improve arms transfer controls.