“The Western Balkans remain a priority region for the European Union, not only in the political sense, but also in the field of conventional arms export control”, said the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Ambassador Leopold Maurer, at a regional seminar on the promotion of arms exports control and the principles and criteria of the EU’s Common Position on this topic.
According to the Ambassador, most countries of the region have already formally aligned themselves with the EU’s ‘Common Position 2008/944/CFSP’, which defines common rules governing the exports of military technology and equipment.
The Common Position represents the cornerstone of coordination of the EU’s arms export policies, with the objective of fostering consistency, transparency and responsibility in arms exports.
Ambassador Maurer hopes that in the not-too-distant future the Western Balkan countries will be able to join the EU family. “Countries in the Western Balkans are all candidates or potential candidates for EU accession. As part of the enlargement process, at a certain point your national arms and dual-use export control regimes are to be screened against the relevant EU acquis”.
In this respect, as the Ambassador explained, the seminar can be interpreted as a mid- to long-term investment that can certainly render the accession path a bit less steep, helping the Western Balkan countries familiarise themselves with the policies and practices developed by the Union in this area.
“Our ultimate objective should be the achievement of responsible arms trade in the entire European continent, complying with the highest possible standards. I am confident that this is a goal that is truly shared by all the countries represented here today”, he said.
Minister for Economy Vladimir Kavaric said that Montenegro is strategically devoted to European integration, adding that such seminars are very important.
After independence, the Minister explained, Montenegro took over responsibility for implementing the law on foreign arms trade, military equipment and dual-use goods. It also participates actively in all events related to arms control.
“At a time of the increased risk of various types of terrorist attacks and the escalation of conflicts in some African countries, our additional obligation is arms export control. I do not think the job is complete with the adoption of legislation on arms export control and dual-use goods”, he concluded.