With regard to conventional arms export control outreach, EU activities have been initiated in 2008 and have first focussed on the close neighbourhood of the EU Beneficiary countries traditionally include the countries of South Eastern Europe, and North African, Mediterranean, Eastern European and Caucasian partners of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Central to the objectives of the arms export control outreach activities is the promotion of the principles and criteria of the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, which is the EU framework governing arms exports and related transparency measures. The overall objective is to assist and cooperate in support of transparent and responsible arms transfers.


EU conventional arms export control outreach activities have initially mostly focussed on regional seminars but, over time, have also developed more targeted and needs-adjusted assistance measures, such as study visits and individual assistance workshops dedicated to specific topics identified by the beneficiary countries. Since 2009, activities are implemented by the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).


The EU has enlarged in 2013 its assistance portfolio with the adoption of dedicated implementation support programme for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) under Council Decision 2013/768/CFSP. This programme assists a number of third countries upon their request in strengthening their arms transfer systems in line with the requirements of the Treaty. There is also a consistent effort to reach out to countries not yet party to the Treaty.

EU outreach activities to promote the control of arms exports and the principles and criteria of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP among third countries

EU outreach activities significantly developed with the adoption in 2008 of Council Joint Action 2008/230/CFSP that funded seminars, bringing together experts in the control of arms exports from EU Member States and interested third parties, especially near neighbours. The objectives of the seminars included promotion of the criteria and principles of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, and assistance in drafting and implementing legislation to ensure effective control of arms exports.


In view of the successful partnership initiated by Joint Action 2008/230/CFSP, the EU funded subsequent phases of arms export control outreach activities through Council Decisions 2009/1012/CFSP of 22 December 2009,  2012/711/CFSP of 19 November 2012  and, most recently, Council Decision 2015/2309/CFSP of 10 December 2015. These Decisions have provided for additional, more advanced and more demand-driven outreach  activities with the partner countries. 

Under the most recent phase under Council Decision 2015/2309/CFSP, a new rating advice facility is set up whereby partner countries will be able to submit to EU technical experts requests for advice on goods classification and the application of control lists.