The AECAC and its member are – directly or indirectly – affected by the political work of the European institutions. Since its founding, the AECAC engages in political dialogue to support and position the objectives of its members.
The EU Security Union Strategy
In summer 2020 the EU Commission presented its strategy to build a real security ecosystem in the European Union. One element is the 2020-2025 EU action plan on firearms trafficking which foresees – among other aspects – a more harmonized approach at EU level and the closing of loopholes in national legislation.
The Commission has called on the European Parliament, the Council and the Member States to fully recognise the need to step up actions in this area at national level and at EU level.
The AECAC will closely follow the discussions surrounding the action plan, participate in the consultations and will engage in continuous dialogue with the relevant stakeholders and opinion-shapers.
The EU Firearms directive
This EU directive which was updated in 2017 is of crucial importance for our members.
It defines a set of minimum rules for the control of the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union and regulates the transfer of firearms to another EU country.
The directive restricts the circulation of civil firearms and provides rights and obligations for private persons, dealers, brokers, collectors and museums.
In the years from 2017 onwards the EU member states had to transfer the rules of the directive into national law. The AECAC and its members accompanied the national processes of implementation and have been engaged in regular dialogue with political stakeholders to provide arguments and our expertise.
The AECAC strongly supports any measures which help to increase the safety of the citizens of the European Union and reduce the risk of criminal and terrorist activities. However, some elements of the 2017 directive and especially the implementation measures in some member state do not lead to an improved level of security but only add red tape and bureaucratic requirements – which in some cases cannot even be realized by our members.
The EU Commission announced that it will assess the effectiveness of the directive and the implementation by the member states in 2020/21. The AECAC closely follows this discussion and will contribute its expertise in dialogue with the involved European institutions and stakeholders.
The EU debate on restricting the use of lead in shot and bullets
Since several years the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is discussing the risks coming from lead in ammunition. In 2015, the European Commission requested ECHA to investigate the risks posed by the use of lead gunshot in wetlands and, if needed, prepare a proposal for a restriction. In 2017, ECHA stated that the use of lead gunshot in wetlands posed a risk and published its proposal for a restriction. A decision must now be reached by the EU Commission and the EU member states.
Jointly with partners such as the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) the AECAC accompanies the scientific and political debate.
It is our opinion that the proposal leaves many open questions and will cause several serious legal problems not only for European hunters but also for enforcement agencies. We will continue the dialogue with decision-makers both at European level and in the member states.
Meanwhile the EU Commission has requested ECHA to extent the investigation to lead used in gunshot for hunting and outdoor sports activities in terrestrial areas (i.e. outside of wetlands). A proposal can be expected from fall 2020 onwards and AECAC will engage in this discussion as well.
EU Green Deal and Recovery Fund
The EU Green Deal which was announced 2019 will be one of the most relevant projects of the EU in the coming decade. It aims at changing the European Union fundamentally and thereby affecting all aspects of society and business. The decarbonisation and modernisation of the European industries will require European companies to adapt to a new framework – ranging from more climate-friendly production processes to increased standards for product safety, recycling and reuse.
The recovery measures to help the European economies to cope with the effects of Covid-19 will also focus on not only rebuilding industries and companies but also modernizing them and making them more climate- and environmental-friendly.
The AECAC will monitor these issues closely in the coming years and inform its members as well as engage in the necessary discourse with the European institutions whenever the interests of our members are affected.
AECAC complaint againt marking restrictions in Europe
By the attached document, the Association Européenne de Commerce d’Armes Civiles (AECAC), the Spanish association Asociación Española de Comerciantes de Armerías sus Complementos y Explosivos (ACACE), the Spanish association Asociación Armera and the Swedish association Sveriges Vapenhandlareforening (SVF) gave notice to the Directorate General Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission of their complaint for the infringement of the Directive 2008/51/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008, amending the Council Directive 91/477/EEC of 18 June 1991, on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons by the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Sweden.