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Arms Trade.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 30 March 2010

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Questions (22)

Liz McManus

Question:

84 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the latest report that there has been a 22% increase in arms sales by Germany in the past five years; the implications of this for the EU’s foreign policy, and, in particular, in so far as a very high proportion of these sales are to some of the poorest countries in the world, many with authoritarian regimes. [13347/10]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

I am aware of the report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) which indicated a rise in the level of arms exported from Germany in recent years.

Since December 2008, all European Union Member States, including Germany, are legally bound to uphold Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, which defines common rules governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment.

I am satisfied that the EU Common Position ensures that the export of military technology and equipment from the EU is carried out with the strongest possible safeguards. Furthermore, I would emphasise that Germany maintains a robust export control system and would also note that the SIPRI report states that "European recipients represent the main destinations" for German military exports.

The EU Common Position ensures that every application for a licence to export items on the EU Common Military List is assessed against eight criteria. These criteria take into consideration a number of factors, including matters such as respect for the international obligations and commitments of Member States, in particular the sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council or the European Union; respect for human rights in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country of international humanitarian law; the internal situation in the country of final destination — such as the existence of tension or armed conflict; the preservation of regional peace, security and stability; the national security of Member States and of friendly and allied countries; terrorism and respect for international law; the risk of diversion to an undesirable end user, either within the buyer country or by re-export; and the compatibility of the particular equipment with the level of development of the country in question, i.e. whether the proposed export would seriously hamper the sustainable development of the recipient country.

I would also recall that this Government, in line with our EU partners, is committed to supporting a binding and comprehensive global treaty on the arms trade, covering all weapons and ammunition. Germany in particular has played a leading role in this effort and the EU as a whole will be working towards this goal in the coming months.

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