The European Commission has today proposed a Council decision authorising EU Member States to sign the treaty on the international trade in conventional weapons, the so-called Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
The purpose of the Arms Trade Treaty is to contribute to international and regional peace, security and stability by regulating the international trade in conventional arms and eradicating the illicit arms trade. It is vital to fill the gap of the unregulated trade of conventional arms at an international level and to assist the development of peace-building and humanitarian efforts.
The ATT aims to make the legal trade in conventional arms more responsible, by setting high common international standards on imports, exports and transfers. It provides for the assessment of arms transfers and measures to prevent the diversion of conventional arms from the importing and exporting States. In addition, it enhances transparency in arms trading by requiring record keeping and reporting to the Secretariat and other State Parties.
The provisions of the ATT cover conventional arms of the following categories: battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers and small arms and light weapons. The Treaty also covers the related ammunition/ munitions and parts and components.
As the ATT concerns matters of exclusive EU competence, such as for import and export controls, Member States can only decide on accession to the ATT after authorisation by the Council upon a proposal by the Commission.