Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) wants the trade in goods that are used for torture and the death penalty to stop. Today the European Parliament will adopt her report to strengthen export control rules for these kind of products. Schaake: "The eradication of the death penalty and torture is an important goal of European trade and foreign policy. The EU condemns the death penalty and torture everywhere. Therefore it is crucial that we have strong and credible policy to make sure that Europe does not contribute to these practices. I trust that both the Parliament and the member states will accept the compromise as it is now on the table." The regulation will cover products such as spiked shields and batons, electric shock belts that can be put on prisoners and different kinds of shackles.
Broadening the scope
Important parts of the new law are a prohibition of marketing, a prohibition of transit through EU territory and a control on the brokering of deals with these goods. Schaake: "With this proposal we broaden the scope of the regulation, making sure we catch more of the worldwide trade in these products and ensuring that Europeans are not involved. In the future, we will need to see whether European citizens selling these products outside the EU should also be covered in the regulation. The EU is the biggest trading bloc in the world, so our export control laws have effect on worldwide trade flows. In this way we can strengthen our values through trade policy."
"We must 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 and to promote rules-based trade. "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."