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EU aims to strengthen ATT implementation in Asia-Pacific

The European Union has launched a strategy to deepen defence and security ties with the Asia-Pacific including efforts to strengthen controls of transfers of military technologies.

The policy – entitled EU Strategy for co-operation in the Indo-Pacific – was introduced earlier this month and “recommits the EU politically to the region with the aim of contributing to its stability, security, prosperity, and sustainable development”.

According to the EU, the strategy puts emphasis on reinforcing its role as a “co-operative partner” to countries in the region in sectors including defence and maritime security. “The EU will further develop partnerships and strengthen synergies with likeminded partners and relevant organisations in security and defence,” it said.

Outlining priorities for collaboration, the EU policy identified the requirement to respond to regional challenges such as security, malicious cyber activities, disinformation, disruptive technologies, terrorism, and organised crime.

Another area of co-operation, it said, will be enhancing controls on exports of military equipment and dual-use technologies. This will be achieved, said the EU, through Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions to the Asia-Pacific as well as involvement in security-related fora such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Another related activity, said the strategy, will be to look to conclude ‘framework participation agreements’ between the EU and regional countries. These accords will strengthen EU defence ties with nations in line with the EU’s 2018 policy entitled EU Security Co-operation in and with Asia.

In addition, an EU source told Janes that the bloc is supporting regional countries’ efforts to implement the export control measures of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in line with an EU council decision in 2017 entitled ‘EU outreach activities in support of the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty’.

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