MEP: Political deal on export control anti-torture goods is good news

Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake is happy that today a deal was reached between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Member States to update and strengthen export control legislation for goods that can be used for the death penalty and torture, such as electric chairs, spiked batons and certain types of handcuffs. The political deal was reached after three months of negotiations and both the Parliament and national governments still need to officially approve. Schaake: "Banning the death penalty and torture is an important goal of EU foreign policy. The EU condemns the use of the death penalty and torture always and everywhere. That is why it is essential that we have a strong and credible policy to make sure that EU companies do not contribute to these practices. It is good that we have reached a deal with the Dutch presidency and must now move forward to make sure the new laws enter into force as soon as possible." Flexibility and strengthening The core of the new legislation is to make it more flexible and stronger. New goods will also be added. Medicines that can be used for the death penalty will be controlled, control lists can be amended quickly, there will be a ban to advertise prohibited goods and the transit of these kind of goods will also be controlled. Schaake: "We want to make sure that the EU can react quickly to changes in the world and to the development of new technologies. A crucial aspect is that it will now also be prohibited to advertise for banned goods within the EU, for example at trade fairs, which is a big concern. Over the past years, businesses have taken initiatives which have led to the fact that many American States have not been able to carry out lethal injections. Those own initiatives will now be signed into law." Human Rights "It is crucial that we keep on making the connection between human rights and trade", says Schaake. Also in other fields, such as in arms trade, she calls for strong export controls. Further, when it comes to trade agreements, she wants the EU to ensure strong guarantees on human rights. "We need to make sure that the EU uses its economic weight to make sure we strengthen our values abroad and enforce respect for human rights. Aside from what we agree on paper, political courage is also needed to keep third countries to the promises they make."