MEP: Export torture and death penalty goods needs strong and flexible approach

Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) is happy that the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament has voted in favour of her proposal to update legislation controlling exports of goods which could be used for torture or the death penalty. Schaake: "The EU condemns the death penalty and torture wherever it occurs. With this vote, the trade committee strengthens the control of products which can be used to this end. The EU must be able to respond with more flexibility to changes in the market or countries where the death penalty or torture are carried out. This legislation is a part of broader European foreign policy, which the EU must use to promote respect for human rights in the world." Medicines An important part of the update of this export control legislation is that certain medicines must now be controlled. Schaake: "Medicines, made in the EU, can be used to carry out the death penalty. Own initiatives from companies have already largely stopped the export of these products to for example American prisons. This mechanism now needs to be taken up into law. At the same time we need to make sure that legitimate trade in medicines is not hindered. Flexibility Export control is carried out on the basis of lists with products which need an authorisation. Schaake believes it is important that border authorities can react quickly to changing situations or new products. Schaake: "A crucial aspect of this report is a clause which gives member states the possibility to stop products which they suspect will be used for torture or capital punishment, even if the product is not on the control list. This makes export control more flexible and allows us to react quickly to changing technology or new circumstances in a country." Schaake wants EU export controls to be as transparent as possible and to lift it to the European level where possible. "We need a coherent and predictable system. That creates better policy and a level playing field for EU companies", says the MEP. The trade committee (INTA) adopted Schaake's report with overwhelming majority. Now the proposal will be voted by the entire Parliament, after which negotiations on a final compromise with the member states will start. The report will be posted here when available.