The European Union and the Arms Trade Treaty: An Analysis of the EU’s Effectiveness in Multilateral Security Governance

Item Reference: 
BRIGG 2013/3
Publication Date: 
Publication Place: 
Publication Language: 
College of Europe, UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
Series Title: 
BRIGG Working Paper
Working Paper Type: 

his paper examines the participation of the European Union (EU) in the multilateral negotiations of the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Given the EU’s declared commitment to effective multilateralism and dedication to act as a global security provider, the paper analyses to what extent the EU can be seen as an effective actor in supporting and promoting the ATT. It is argued that overall the EU was an effective player during the multilateral negotiations on the ATT, but the degree of its effectiveness varied along different dimensions. The EU was relatively successful in the achievement of its goals and in maintaining external cohesion during the negotiations, but it scored relatively low in its efforts to commit other major players to sign up to the ATT. The high level of institutional cooperation and the convergence of EU member states’ interests facilitated the EU’s effectiveness in the ATT negotiations, whereas the international context proved to be the major constraining factor.