Arms trade from a European perspective: Challenging the normative power

Arms trade from a European perspective: Challenging the normative power

Tomas Baum, director of the Flemish Peace Institute in Brussels gave a talk on the arms trade in Europe, Friday November 25th.

At the root of the EU’s activities in controlling arms trade lie its foreign policy ambitions. Ambitions that are often summarized under the umbrella term ‘normative power’. The self image of the EU does not allow it to contribute to conflict by means of the delivery of arms to parties in conflict. The principle of sovereignty implies, however, that European foreign policy is to a large extent member state driven. This means that the development of a harmonized European policy in arms trade poses many challenges for an EU living up to its normative ambitions. Recent developments in the European defense market, mainly based on economic considerations, have increased the stakes for efficient arms control regulation. I argue that the challenges in this area are manifold: de-securitization, coherence in EU policy and the integrity of the idea of the EU as a normative power.

Here you can a report from the Flemish Peace Institute: The Common Position on arms exports in the light of the emerging European defence market