Voor de tweede keer huisvest het Vlaams Parlement de COARM-NGO-conferentie, die dit jaar focust op de problematiek van de uitvoer van militaire goederen naar het Midden-Oosten. Ondervoorzitter van de Commissie voor Buitenlands Beleid Güler Turan verzorgde op 15 juni 2017 de openingstoespraak, met speciale aandacht voor het onderzoek van het Vlaams Vredesinstituut over de controlesystemen van de verschillende lidstaten. Datonderzoek diende als basis voor een rapport dat tijdens de eerste sessie van deze conferentie werd gepresenteerd. Hieronder vind je de integrale toespraak.

"Dear colleagues, guests, ladies and gentlemen

As deputy chair of the committee on Foreign Policy and European Affairs, I wish you a very warm welcome in the Flemish Parliament. We are happy to host this COARM-NGO conference for the second time, as we also welcomed many of you in 2015.  

The foreign trade in military equipment, dual use goods and civil firearms are a competence of the regions in Belgium, and thus an important topic within our committee. The challenges of having a decentralised approach to arms exports add an extra layer to an already complex and multifaceted policy domain.

We take this competence very seriously. This is one of the reasons why this parliament decided to set up the Flemish Peace Institute as an independent institute for peace research. It is an independent research institute- affiliated to our parliament - to support our parliamentary activities on this topic with objective and scientific analyses and advice.

The title of this conference -“Harmonising EU arms export controls in an increasingly fractured world. Impossible dream or achievable vision?”-  refers to a timely topic. We live in interesting and challenging times in which the role of the EU is - and should be - debated. Particularly with regard to the Common Security and Defence Policy many questions can be raised.

What is the role of the EU in this respect? What has the EU done so far? What are the results of these actions? What should the EU do or not do in the near future?

We are very much aware that our country does not operate in a geopolitical and legal vacuum, but that there are inherent linkages with the EU and the other EU member states :

  • Our legal framework for export controls is influenced by EU legislation
  • Other EU Member States are the most important markets for our defence-related companies

For this reason our committee decided to ask the Flemish Peace Institute to conduct a European Benchmark study, which would allow us as MP’s to situate ourselves in a broader European perspective and see what we, as a rather small region,  could learn from other countries and systems.

Although it became clear that a clear-cut answer to this question is not self-evident, this objective analysis and comparison and the views and opinions of all different stakeholders have been highly valuable in the review of the Flemish Arms Trade Decree.

We are very happy to see that our benchmark study also has relevance at the European level, and that it forms the basis for the report that will be presented in the first session of this conference. While for our work we were mostly interested in the implications of the various EU member states’ control systems for the Flemish situation, we are glad to see that the Peace Institute took the initiative to use the same comparative analysis to reflect on wider implications for the EU.

I wish you a fruitful conference, useful and interesting discussions, where we can learn from each other’s’ perspectives and where views can be shared and can be discussed in a respectful manner. I hope that this parliamentarian context, which essentially is a house of dialogue, will support you in this challenge. "