A Pair of Pincers Without Grip

In the latest HSFK-Report, Bernhard Moltmann examines the EU-Common Position on arms exports

In 2008, the European Union adopted a common position on arms exports. However, recent European and especially German arms exports activities are heavily criticized in public.


The core issues of the EU-Common Position are criteria standardizing the practice of arms export licences for all EU member states. Now, the Common Position shall be re-assessed whether it has mastered to become an effective tool for arms export control.

Questions that arise in this context are: How do the member states and especially Germany handle the guidelines? Could transparency and coherence have been increased? To what extent is the arms export to conflict regions being controlled?


Bernhard Moltmann strikes a balance of the effectiveness of the EU-Common Position in HSFK-Report Nr. 3/2012 Die Zange, die nicht kneift. Der EU-Gemeinsame Standpunkt zu Rüstungsexporten - Chancen und Risiken seiner Überprüfung (A Pair of Pincers without Grip. The EU-Common Position on Arms Exports. The Review Process and its Risks and Challenges). He points out its merits as well as its deficits and asks for a potential to improve it.


The Report can be ordered at PRIF for EUR 6,- and is also available as free PDF download.