The European Union should create a genuine single market for defence equipment. This is the aim of a directive on the transfer of defence-related products. On 16th December 2008, the European Parliament adopted a first-reading deal which strengthens provisions to guarantee the security of transfers, notably with respect to the final recipients of products or components, inter alia to ensure that arms and other defence-related products do not reach conflict zones.
In spite of coordinating efforts being undertaken between a limited
number of Member States, the European defence market remains fragmented
and divided. Twenty seven national licensing regimes currently exist.
These regimes diverge widely in terms of procedure scope and required
delays. Further, in all EU Member States, the export of defence related
products (including comprehensive military equipments as well as
sub-systems, components, spare parts, technologies) are subject to
national licensing schemes.
This patchwork of schemes not only imposes a significant
administrative burden on companies, it also includes significant lead
times â€“ up to several months. These burdens are out of proportion with
actual control needs: license applications for intra-Community transfers
are rarely rejected. Such divergences constitute a major impediment to
industrial competitiveness, and a considerable obstacle to the emergence
of a European Defence Equipment Market (EDEM) as well as the
functioning of the Internal Market. According to a study carried out for
the European Commission in 2005, the direct and indirect cost of
obstacles to intra-community transfers amounts to â‚¬3.16 billion per
year. The processing of licences has a direct cost of â‚¬434 million per
year while indirect costs have been estimated at â‚¬2.73 billion/year.
The purpose of this proposal, therefore, is to reduce existing
obstacles to the circulation of defence-related goods and services
(products) within the Internal Market, and to diminish the resulting
distortions of competition
Defence-related products: simplifying transfer conditions
The report by Heide RÃœHLE (Greens/EFA, DE) focuses on simplifying and
harmonising the rules for granting licences to transfer military
equipment from one country to another. There are currently 27 different
regimes. This patchwork of rules prevents the free movement of equipment
within the EU, whether for trade, repairs, modernisation or simply for
trade fairs. The new proposal creates a European system of licences
which will be uniform and applicable throughout the EU. Licences will
nonetheless be granted by Member States, which will be free to impose
sanctions if party to whom the licence is granted fails to observe the
licensing conditions. Treaty Article 296 will continue to apply. The
text also stipulates that the directive shall apply without prejudice to
Treaty articles 296 and 30.
The text adopted by MEPs strengthens provisions to guarantee the
security of transfers, notably with respect to the final recipients of
products or components, inter alia to ensure that arms and other
defence-related products do not reach conflict zones.
The transfer of defence-related products between Member States shall
be subject to prior authorisation. No further authorisation by other
Member States shall be required for the passage through Member States or
for the entrance on the territory of the Member State where the
recipient is located of defence-related products without prejudice to
the application of provisions necessary for the protection of public
security or public policy such as, inter alia, the safety of transport.
Public policy or public security
Member States may revoke withdraw, suspend or limit the use of
transfer licences they have issued at any time, for reasons of
protection of their essential security interests, of public policy or
public security or for non-compliance with the terms and conditions
attached to the licence.
The report was adopted with 545 votes in favour, 66 against and 44 abstentions.
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European Parliament - Single Market
18/12/2008 - BUILDING A GENUINE AND TRANSPARENT ARMS MARKET IN EUROPE