On 29th of September Vicky Ford (Rapporteur, ECR) and Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (Shadow Rapporteur, EPP) gave an update on the trialogue for the amendments of the Firearms Directive. You can follow her speech in this webstream at the beginning of the meeting during the first seven minutes.
Read more: summary of her speech and our opinion
Summary of Vicky Ford’s speech
The deactivation guidelines will be revised again. Commission first wanted to do this until spring, but IMCO urged COM to make this faster.
In first trilogue the most important points where opinions of Parliament and Council differ are the following:
- data-filing, exchange of information
- authorization including medical reviews
- salute weapons
- exemptions for category A
In six areas all three parties (European Parliament, Council and Commission) pretty much agree:
- alarm and signal weapons
- scope of safe storage
- firearms pass
- ammunition/magazines – “back to have discussion with working group”
“Nothing is agreed, until everythign agreed,” stated Vicky Ford.
“There are no more major differencies, we need to find clear wordings and guarentee clear legislation. IMCO result gives good base for negotiations“, said Anna Maria Corazza-Bildt.
The Commission has answered to a letter from Vicky Ford, apparently in detail, which may work as an impact assessment. We wrote about the content of this letter here: https://firearms-united.com/2016/09/07/back-core-business-summary-committee-internal-market-consumer-protection/
One day earlier Vicky Ford informed us by Facebook about the process:
Update on EU Firearms legilsation
On Tuesday 27th September there was the first informal trilogue meeting on the firearms directive. I’ve had many questions about the process ahead so here is some further information.
1. “Trilogues” are informal meetings to go through the changes proposed by the European Parliament and the European Council in order to try to come to a common agreement. They are attended by representatives of the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission. The Council is represented by officials from the country which is currently in the 6 month rotating presidency, at the moment it is Slovakia’s turn.
2. The Parliament’s negotiation team typically consists of the rapporteur (which in this case is me) the shadow rapporteurs from the other political groups, and a Chair who helps mediate the discussion.
3. The Council and the Parliament clarify their positions, based on the mandates of their respective institutions. The Parliament team mandate for negotiations is based on the amendments agreed by the vote in the Parliament’s Internal Market Committee.
4. The Council and the Parliament teams seek compromises on amendments where there are differences. The aim is to reach agreement on a package of amendments acceptable to Council and Parliament. The Commission is not a co-legislator so it does not have say on any final decision but often plays a mediating, advisory or drafting role.
5. Discussions take place on two levels. Firstly at technical level, involving staff of the three administrations, which clarify technical issues that can be agreed on. Secondly, at informal trilogue meetings, which clarify political issues.
6. All negotiations in trilogue are based on a ‘four-column working document’. The four columns set out positions as follows:
- The Commission’s original proposal
- The Council’s text
- The Parliament’s text voted in IMCO
- A fourth column stating the acceptance, rejection, or possible compromise text
The 4 column document is available here: http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-12152-2016-INIT/en/pdf **
7. The Rapporteur reports on progress at the monthly Internal Market Committee meetings which are public.
8. Negotiations work on the understanding that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’.
9. Any agreement in trilogue is informal, and the agreement has to be approved by the formal procedures applicable within each of the three institutions. Once an agreed the agreed text must be approved by the full European Parliament and the Council in the formal procedures applicable to these institutions. The two institutions vote separately on the joint text.
The EP website has an interactive explanation of the legislative process: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/20150201PVL00004/Legislative-powers
For a more detailed version, see here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/code/information/guide_en.pdf
FIREARMS UNITED’s Opinion
The current Firearms Directive is an effective tool for security and does not unnecessarily obstruct legal activity. EU Member States that faithfully transposed the Directive into their national laws and applied proper enforcement enjoy positive results. What is necessary is further collaboration between Member States to learn from those that successfully applied the Directive effectively and to implement measures that harmonise the procedures for better control. That is the way to earn citizens’ trust and cooperation in keeping Europe safe.
We approve harmonising standards and rules for deactivated, blank firing and acustic firearms and markings with legislative acts, but whithout amending the Council Directive 91/477/EEC. We urge Commission to control if Member States have implemented the three guidelines of 1991, 2008 and 2010 (export to third countries). We urge Commission to help Member States in controlling of the outer borders to prevent illicit trafficking by smugglers.
We accept a slice of the salami for firearms which are out of the scope of the Directive and could be easily converted. A lot of Member States already have national laws for this topic. Common guidelines would improve legal movement and trade and prevent illicit trafficking.
But there is no need to open the Directive and write more restrictions for already registered firearms or for authorized gun owners.