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Parlamento Europeo - 17 settembre 1992
Arms exports and armaments industry


Resolution on the Community's role in the supervision of arms exports and the armaments industry

The European Parliament,

-having regard to Rule 121 of its Rules of Procedure,

-having regard to the motions for resolutions by Mrs Castellina and Mr Pérez Royo (B3-0748/89) and by Mr Sakellariou (B3-0242/91),

-having regard to its resolution of 13 June 1985OJ No. C 175, 15.7.1985, p. 241 on closing the procedure for consultation of the European Parliament on the communication from the Commission of the European Communities to the Council on public supply contracts - Conclusions and perspectives,

-having regard to its resolution of 14 March 1989OJ No. C 96, 17.4.1989, p. 34 on European arms exports,

-having regard to its resolution of 18 April 1991OJ No. C 129, 20.5.1991, p. 139 on the arms trade,

-having regard to the Commission communication on export controls on dual- use goods and technologies and the completion of the internal market (SEC(92)0085), and to the Commission proposal of 14 July 1992 for a Council regulation on the control of exports of certain dual-use goods and technologies and of certain nuclear products and technologies (COM(92)0317),

-having regard to the working document on defence-related industries, submitted by the Commission to the Meeting of Industry Ministers in Lisbon on 21 March 1992, in which it outlined a Community perspective on the industrial dimensions of the changes taking place in these industries;

-having regard to past negotiations on disarmament, especially the Vienna negotiations on the reduction of conventional forces and the START Agreement, signed in Moscow on 31 July 1992 and the Bush-Yeltsin agreement concluded in Washington on 16 June 1992 whereby American and Russian nuclear warheads are to be cut by two thirds by the year 2003 at the latest to a total of approximately 3500 on each side,

-having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign affairs and Security and the opinions of the Committee on External Economic Relations and the Committee on Development and Cooperation (A3-0260/92),

A.whereas 1989 saw a transformation of the political situation in Europe which ended the East-West conflict and led to the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and a changed role for NATO,

B.whereas the European Union being established under the Maastricht Treaty must act as a stability factor in the new Europe and whereas the common foreign and security policy has a vital role to play in fostering stability, peace, democracy and prosperity in Europe as a whole,

C.whereas it has to be assumed that, in view of these international political upheavals, there will be far greater scope for disarmament in the next two years than was foreseeable in the past; whereas disarmament will inevitably be encouraged by lasting defence budget bottlenecks; whereas the deep economic crisis in the countries of Eastern Europe and the appalling debt crisis situation of most countries of the South as well as the large amount of funds needed for the world-wide protection of the environment will call for substantial financial resources being made available by all industrialized countries, which will depend on savings in other sectors,

D.whereas there will probably still be military conflicts in future, but for different reasons and on a different scale from warfare in the past and whereas the European Union must be in a position to meet these new challenges by referring to a model of security that is adapted to the new situation, geared to the prevention and peaceful solution of armed conflicts and particularly alert to the problems of ethnic minorities and the new forms of nationalism and the safeguarding of security in its overall sense of ecological, social and economic balance, and to this end must cooperate diligently within the framework of the ECSC and the United Nations,

E.whereas the military-industrial complex naturally has great resilience and ways and means of ensuring its survival despite cuts in national defence spending such as operations especially to southern hemisphere countries, and the debate on restructuring the armed forces with a view to swift, flexible and limited operations,

F.whereas it will respond with the utmost disapproval if new arms markets are sought in Third World countries in order to offset arms cuts in Europe,

G.whereas the continuing existence of too large an armaments sector cannot be justified by the fact that arms research also has secondary civil uses, particularly as the extent of the spin-off-effect is exaggerated,

H.whereas arms spending fell by 5% throughout the world in 1990, for which the USA and the former USSR were mainly responsible; whereas all NATO and Eastern Europe countries are planning substantial cuts in their armed forces, military procurement and research over the next few years,

I.having regard to the process of concentration in the armaments industry, caused in part by the end of military confrontation between the blocs, but being hastened by the dismantling of the Community's internal frontiers and the creation of a more competitive environment,

J.whereas, as the Treaties now stand, the Community has no powers in the fields of security and defence, and trade in arms is not covered by Community rules; whereas manufacturing and trade involving dual-use technologies are however affected by the completion of the internal market, as they include civilian sectors of industry,

K.whereas the Treaty on European Union would allow joint action decided by unanimity in fields covered by foreign and security policy, which may include disarmament policy and arms control in Europe, and questions of nuclear non-proliferation and the control of transfers of military technology,

L.whereas all members of the Community are parties to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) which in the preamble says 'Recalling the determination expressed by the Parties to the 1963 Treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water in its preamble to seek to achieve the discontinuance of all test explosions of nuclear weapons and for all time and to continue negotiations to this end'; and Article VI says: 'Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control',

M.whereas the Convention on the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, being negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations, achieved its final phase and whereas on 3 September 1992 the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva approved a draft agreement banning chemical weapons which will probably be signed at the beginning of 1993,

N.whereas the first major 'chemical' attack in the history of the world took place in Ypres on 22 April 1915 and whereas in 1917 Ypres was also the testing ground for a new substance, mustard gas, that soon became better known under the name of 'Yperite',

O.whereas the European Council, meeting in Luxembourg on 28/29 June 1991 agreed on a number of common guidelines, in order to render transfers of conventional weapons and military technologies to third countries more transparent, guidelines which were expanded by the European Council meeting in Lisbon on 26/27 June 1992,

P.whereas of the 1.5 million people employed in the Western European armaments industry in the late Eighties, 300 000 - 500 000 will lose their jobs in the next three to five years, which is comparable to the job losses in the iron and steel industry between 1975 and 1985,

Q.having regard to the declaration of the Council of Ministers of the WEU at Petersberg on 22 June 1992, which envisaged humanitarian, peacekeeping and peacemaking roles for the armed forces of Member States acting together in the framework of the WEU,

1.Is of the opinion that the European Union created by the Maastricht Treaty will be of crucial importance for security in Europe;

2.Calls on this basis for a new pan-European approach to security policy, equipped with the necessary structures for avoiding conflict and creating stability; this approach must make possible a network of political, economic and social links to nip conflict in the bud and to reduce the probability that disputes will be prosecuted by military means; considers that a growing role must fall to 'preventive security policy' and that military force should invariably be used only in the last resort;

3.Urges that matters pertaining to armaments production and the arms trade be brought within the Community ambit in anticipation of European Union; considers that powers and responsibilities in the above areas are the first plank in the common foreign and security policy and must be exercised on the basis of qualified majority voting in Council and permanent, effective control by the European Parliament;

4.Urges the Member States to implement a bold, forward-looking disarmament policy at national and international level;

5.Rejects the attempts by arms manufacturers to offset cuts in national defence spending by an export drive and calls on the governments of the Member States concerned to refrain from encouraging this practice by ending the promotion of arms exports through government agencies and by stopping export credit for weapon deals; this latter aggravates social imbalances in the Third World and can sow the seeds for the conflicts of the future;

6.Believes in the necessity of a strict common arms production policy; fears that the EUCLID programme will tend to aggravate the existing over-capacity in Western Europe and calls on the Commission to review the programme, gearing its continuation solely to the rationalization of the industry with a view to reducing the resources used in the sector; is of the opinion that a common market in arms, underpinned by efficient Community-wide cooperation in the armaments sector, must be established to help save costs and reduce arms exports to Third World countries;

7.Welcomes the Commission's intention to take the initiative necessary to encourage rationalisation and to reduce over-capacities in armament production; agrees, in particular, with the proposal to fix common industrial objectives such as improved competitivity, with the opening of public markets within the Community and with the objective of European standardization; asks the Member States not to continue blocking such proposals and to work along the lines proposed by the Commission in March 1992;

8.Considers that conversion of the arms industry should be included as a matter of priority in the Commission's Community initiatives irrespective of their geographical location, and calls on the budgetary authority to make provision for the funds needed for such measures in the budget for 1993;

9.Believes that the common criteria to be observed with regard to arms exports should take account of the sufficiency principle, in other words Member States should undertake coordinated steps with a view to cutting off supplies of war material to third countries whose military capability is sufficient for their own defence; considers that the unchecked proliferation of arms will create new threats which will then appear to justify the installation of new defensive systems; draws attention to the danger of a North-South conflict breaking out in place of the East-West conflict;

10.Calls on the Member States to give active support to serious negotiations to achieve as soon as possible a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and for this at the next session of the Conference of Disarmament in Geneva, to establish an ad hoc group with a mandate to negotiate the Treaty as a first step towards genuine nuclear disarmament;

11.Points out that only drastic restructuring will allow defence companies to cope with the changed situation after the end of the Cold War, with a process of further concentration on a small number of competitive undertakings, and that a changeover to the production of civilian goods will be essential for certain undertakings;

12.Considers that while concentration of the arms industry in the internal market may perhaps stabilize turnover and profits, but will offer no long-term protection against reduced arms orders;

13.Calls on the Commission:

-to implement long-term policies aimed at providing support for conversion, for example by including such support among the objectives assigned to the Community's structural policies;

-to devise specific support programmes opening the way for diversification and enabling jobs to be preserved in regions affected by restructuring of the defence industry and the closure of military bases;

14.Calls in particular for a Community conversion programme for switching plant and machinery used for military purposes to civilian uses and for the setting up of alternative production plant; the programme must take into account social and technological aspects, in particular:

-it has to recognise the vital need to transform sections of the current arms industry into new civil industries using the high-tech skills available in the workforce to meet international competition;

-it must be an integral part of an overall regional economic development strategy and allow for the fact that some single-industry regions in the Community are especially vulnerable to the economic and social consequences of defence spending cuts. The closure of defence establishments will thus reduce local demand for labour and services, some of which are civilian,

-it must be conducted in close coordination with the workforce and regional and local government to make it more acceptable and allow a strategy of adaptation in the interests of the workers and communities affected,

-the great need for investment in the civilian field. Budgetary constraints will make it impossible for conversion to be financed exclusively from the public purse, so recourse to the private markets will be necessary;

15.Calls for cooperation to be intensified in the civil technology field and for economic aid to be granted to third countries that refrain from equipping themselves with technologically advanced offensive military arsenals, cut their defence spending, and make their domestic policy accord with the principles of democracy and rigorous respect for human rights;

16.Points out that after the end of East-West confrontation, despite the disarmament effort, there are still huge stocks of conventional and NBC weapons, which in the absence of a threat are now redundant; calls for funds for their destruction to be made available under the Community conversion programme or for funds from international sources to be granted to offset the expenditure incurred in destruction and any economic imbalances that might be created in the regions concerned, especially if they are structurally weak; calls also for the former Eastern bloc countries to be given aid to destroy their NBC weapons, as they do not have the financial or technological means to destroy them properly; points out that the existence of these stockpiles represents an enormous threat to our security in view of the present unstable situation in the CIS; recalls in this connection the proposals made by the Austrian Federal Chancellor Vranitzky on acquisition of conventional arms and by the President of the EBRD, Jacque

s Attali, on exchanging Soviet nuclear warheads for credit; considers these proposals to be valid alternatives to the announcement by President Yeltsin of his intention to create a commission on arms sales as a means of acquiring hard currency; this would lead to uncontrollable arms proliferation directly contrary to international security; calls on the Commission to make conclusion of new cooperation agreement with the former Soviet republics subject to specific commitments as regards non-proliferation and the destruction of their superfluous weapons;

17.Recommends that the Council take the appropriate measures to associate the name of Ypres with the recently signed Convention on the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction by calling the Convention the 'Ypres Convention';

18.Welcomes the initiative to create an International Centre for Science and Technology in Moscow with the aim of avoiding the drain of scientists to third countries; calls for this Centre to become operational as soon as possible; hopes that this project is endowed with adequate financial means and that it offers real prospects to the highly-qualified research staff concerned; calls for coordination between PHARE, the programme of technical aid to the CIS and the new Centre, in order to create a synergy between the different projects; asks the Commission and the member States to take further coordinated steps to enable qualified scientists and engineers to move into civil industries in their home countries rather than join the "brain drain" to new military industries in third countries;

19.Points out that in a Community internal market arms exports can be efficiently monitored only at the Community's external borders, and that national rules can be evaded at will; therefore repeats its call for the deletion of Article 223 of the EEC Treaty so that the Member States will no longer be able to prevent a common policy on the control of arms exports by invoking national security interests; points out that the lack of common rules means that arms exports will be determined in practice by the Member State with the most free and easy export regulations; welcomes proposals for a code of conduct on arms exports based on the highest levels of existing controls, which individual Member States can support until such time as Article 223 is deleted and the code incorporated in Community Law; calls on the Commission to obtain detailed information on the Member States' arms exports and make regular reports to Parliament;

20.Calls on the Community and the Member States to do their utmost in every international forum with a view to establishing effective controls over the arms trade and persuading as many countries as possible to adopt the criteria which, according to the Community, sales of war material must satisfy; supports the proposal for a register of international arms sales to be kept at the United Nations;

21.Stresses that these controls should also extend to the materials or components, for example plutonium, which become available when arms are dismantled or destroyed;

22.Welcomes the agreement which the Commission has secured from the Member States on certain aims of joint action regarding dual-use products and technologies and calls on the Commission to submit proposals as soon as possible on:

-a list of dual-use products and technologies in which trade must be regulated;

-common criteria for the issue of Community export licences;

-a joint body or common machinery to coordinate policies and procedures for the exercise of controls and for permanent updating of a common list of 'prohibited' destinations for dual-use products and technologies;

23.Without wishing to preempt a more detailed opinion in the framework of consultation, points out that it considers the proposal for a regulation presented in July 1992 to be insufficient inasmuch as it provides for decision-making on the list of products and on destinations to remain a national competence, on the grounds that these are decisions of a strategic nature; insists that Parliament, in the framework of consultation, will also be consulted on the list of dual-use products and technologies, as well as on the list of "friendly" states which are to benefit from a simplified authorization procedure; points out that the regulation should prohibit the sale of arms to war zones and to governments which do not have a positive record with respect to human and civil rights, and include a clause guaranteeing political accountability with regard to the export of arms and dual-use equipment by publishing applications for export licences in the Official Journal of the European Communities prior to them being gr


24.Calls for the use of mines against civilian populations in war zones (e.g. the Kurds) to be internationally proscribed and for producer countries to undertake to complete the necessary mine-removing operations;

25.Considers that Community exports of instruments of torture should also be prevented by Community rules;

26.Calls on the Commission and Council, when conducting international negotiations with arms-producing countries, to seek agreement on world-wide restrictions on arms exports;

27.Points out that, compared to the situation in the Community, the social consequences of conversion of the defence industry in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union could have a far more serious impact on the economic and political stability of the countries in question - and hence on the security of the European continent as a whole - and stresses that substantial measures in support of the conversion process must be made a priority for both the Community and the Member States;

28.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Foreign Ministers meeting in EPC and the Governments of the Member States.

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