Stop arms flow to conflict regions: trade MEPs give go-ahead for EU states to ratify UN deal - EU monitor

EU monitor
Monday, July 6, 2020

Stop arms flow to conflict regions: trade MEPs give go-ahead for EU states to ratify UN deal

Source: European Parliament (EP) i, published on Tuesday, January 21 2014.

MEPs from the Committee on International Trade suggested in a today’s vote the authorization by the European Parliament for EU countries to ratify the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty which establishes binding international rules on trade in conventional weapons, aiming to eradicate the illicit trade of weapons globally and put a stop to arms flows to conflict regions.

"The Arms Trade Treaty is a huge achievement in beginning to regulate the global arms trade. This is a $22 billion industry which urgently needs global monitoring, as the trade in arms often has a devastating effect on peace, security and human rights in some of the world's most vulnerable countries”, said rapporteur David Martin i (S&D, UK), after Trade MEPs had unanimously backed his recommendation.

"I hope Member States will ratify the Treaty as soon as possible to show global leadership in implementing the Treaty and encouraging some of the world's biggest players in the arms trade, including the arms industry, to follow our lead in promoting peace, security and transparent, responsible trade", he added.

The EU cannot sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, since only Member States can be parties to United Nations treaties; however, as the treaty touches upon aspects of common commercial policy, falling under the exclusive competence of the EU, it requires consent of European Parliament.

The decision has yet to be voted in law by the full House (first February session tbc).


The Arms Trade Treaty was adopted on 2 April 2013 through a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly. Three States voted against the Treaty (North Korea, Iran and Syria) and 23 abstained (including China, India and Russia).