Jun 14 2012
A Call To Arms
Yesterday, Tory MEP Geoffrey Van Orden decried that, in his opinion, almost every resolution of the European Parliament has inevitably included some language to the effect of working ‘hand in hand’ with the European Commission and other EU institutions to push for deeper integration.
What, in this instance could possibly have roused Mr Van Orden’s ire? What can this insidious attempt at integration be for? Well, it was the European Parliament’s resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty. On Tuesday, in advance of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty in New York in July , the European Parliament called for an effective Arms Trade Treaty covering as wide a spectrum of weapons as possible and supporting greater transparency and accountability. MEPs also called on the European Union to do more to ensure the thorough regulation of arms trading, particularly given that EU members are responsible for about 30 per cent of all arms exports (the United Kingdom incidentally, is the EU’s leading arms exporter).
As Mr Van Orden was hysterically accusing the European Union of trying to extend its competences, Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy was declaring the international trade in weapons to be one of the least regulated sectors of international commerce and was rightly considering the negotiation of a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty as an opportunity to see the highest possible standards to regulate the international trade in arms.
Diplomatic efforts to ensure countries such as China and Russia sign up to the highest possible standards are not diminished by the harmonising of European positions. The EU has been at the forefront of the Arms Trade Treaty since its outset and believes that it has the potential to improve the lives and security conditions of hundreds of thousands around the world by ensuring that weapons are traded in the most responsible way.