GUE/NGL MEPs have welcomed the result of a plenary vote today which saw the European Parliament recommend that member states ratify the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the first-ever international Treaty regulating the export, import, and transfer of conventional arms ranging from battle tanks to ammunitions.

Shadow rapporteur on the file Helmut Scholz commented: “This is not just a long overdue step in the right direction, but also a clear signal to those countries that have not yet ratified or signed the agreement. We supported the ATT because it is a first step, it is not by any means ideal but we need to send this clear signal that we are at least taking a firm first step.

“The ATT is not yet about disarmament but seeks internationally binding greater control and transparency in the billion dollar arms trade business. It won't help solve a lot of problems that we still have today as it does not prevent weapons' producers and traders thinking up creative ways to get round rules and regulations to profit from conflict situations. Nevertheless, it's a starting point and we need to continue to fight for a clear prohibition on arms exports.”

German MEP Sabine Lösing said: “It is a good thing that the European Parliament is finally able to recommend that member states ratify the arms trade treaty. Hopefully this won't turn into a useless paper tiger as has been the case for previous agreements, such as the EU Common Position on arms exports, for example.

“In Northern Syria, Islamic rebels are using French or German anti-tank weapons, which in some cases were stolen from the Syrian army. These weapons kill people, primarily civilians. The shortcomings in the ATT, and also in the EU Common Position, are huge: for one thing there is no mention of proper monitoring or scrutiny and this simply must be put on the agenda.  We call for an end to all arms exports.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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