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“Advocating a Europe of defense, Emmanuel Macron could join action with words by creating a European policy on arms exports”

Tribune. In a democracy, there is no reason why arms sales should escape political control. Some countries, like Sweden, are pioneers in regulating and controlling arms sales – they don’t sell just anything to just anyone. But other European countries, including France, ignore human rights and feed oppressive and rogue regimes, such as Saudi Arabia for its bloody conflict in Yemen, or Egypt, a dictatorship that represses its population.

It is the fair with arms and each one goes there of its outbidding and its compromises. To better control the war market, European environmentalists propose to strengthen the supervisory power of the European Commission and to allow the Court of Justice of the European Union to arbitrate on the legality of arms sales.

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After all, the European Union (EU) is building, step by step, a common defense policy. The brand new European Defense Fund aims to encourage the rapprochement of the major European arms producers. The latter did not wait to create research and development programs together.

More active control of Europe

However, if the weapons of tomorrow are designed at European level, should their export not also be controlled at European level? Concretely, if an unscrupulous state wishes to sell tanks or fighter planes to a dictator, the Court of Justice of the EU could sanction it and the European subsidies paid to the industrialists concerned could be suspended.

To allow this control, we propose, with my fellow ecologists from the European Parliament Hannah Neumann and Alviina Alamtsä, to create a new European regulation which would give power and mandate to the European Commission to assess and monitor arms sales. It would also be responsible for establishing and updating a red list of countries at risk, to which it would be prohibited to sell certain products.

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A list that would be submitted to the European Parliament for approval. Today there is indeed an international treaty and a binding position of the Council of the Union on arms sales, but their criteria are not respected. To be taken seriously, the European Union must equip itself with genuinely dissuasive tools.

Integrate this measure into the legislative agenda of Europe

Far from being a utopia, this proposal from European environmentalists could quickly find an echo and support in Europe. Belgium, Finland and Germany are already applying restrictions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, especially since the latter tortured and murdered, in the center of Istanbul in 2018, Jamal Khashoggi , a journalist critical of the regime.

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