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The EU: A Global Actor in the Non-proliferation of WMD through the Control of Dual-use Goods

Ana Sánchez Cobaleda


The EU is a global actor in the control of dual-use goods, which, in turn, contributes to make it a global actor in the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Dual-use goods are items and technologies that have legitimate civilian applications, but can also be used for the development of WMD (i.e. chemical, biological and nuclear weapons). The control of such goods derives from the general international obligation to counter the proliferation, which is also included in the new Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign & Security Policy recently presented by the EU High Representative for External Action. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the main reasons for the EU’s global role in the control of dual-use goods and, consequently, in the fight against the proliferation of WMD. Non-proliferation is expected to become a permanent element of the external policy of the EU. Therefore, it is worth keeping in mind that along with the inspiring legal frameworks, together with the technical cooperation programs offered inside and outside of the Union and through its participation in relevant International Organisations, the EU is also exporting a certain kind of development, inspired by its very own legislative practice and its own safety standards. This array of instruments (ranging from trade to international cooperation and development assistance) strengthens the EU’s position in the security and defence field as a global actor in the counter proliferation of WMD.

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