News & Articles

April 2015

  • It’s crunch-time for combating illegal arms, both within and beyond the EU

    It’s crunch-time for combating illegal arms, both within and beyond the EU

    By BROOKS TIGNER BRUSSELS – The EU’s ability to prevent small arms and light weapons leaking from its territory to foreign conflicts such as those in Ukraine or the Middle East is “lamentable” and needs revision, says the European Parliament’s (EP) Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Group. To that, one could add better control of arms and weaponry entering and circulating inside the 28 EU countries as well, the group said. In view of the January 2015 Paris killings of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists (not to mention earlier murders in southern France, and here in the Belgian capital), much stronger action is needed – beyond “task forces and action plans”, ALDE officials and others said during a hearing on the subject at the EP in early March. The Hebdo killings, which left 17 dead, immediately prompted calls from EU leaders for tighter coordination and information exchanges among their bureaucracies to clamp down on illicit arms and light weapons circulating within the EU. According to ALDE, it is “too easy” for illicit arms to transit from Europe’s own territory to war zones, including eastern Ukraine’s secessionist rebels. “This is a very serious problem” MEP Pavel Telička, ALDE’s vice-president, said at the 3 March event organised by his group. “The EU needs an effective game plan to fight this cross-border scourge. What we have in terms of [EU] regulation is not sufficient.” Arms experts invited to address the hearing said there are several critical steps Europe needs take. Kathi Lynn Austin, executive director of the Conflict Awareness Project, said the EU needs new legislation that is structured to create a far finer... Read More »
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