From a Code of Conduct to a European Common Position on Arms Exports. What changes?

On December 8, 2008, the European Union (EU) adopted a legally binding instrument on arms transfers by approving a Common Position that replaces and updates the Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. The EU marked another important step towards improving the control of arms exports in Europe. However, member States continue to approve transfers that appear to contravene the spirit of the Common Position and its export criteria. They seem to respond to other – rather economical or industrial – criteria. At the moment of a renewed debate on their common foreign policy, the EU states should consider the messages they convey through their arms exports.