Legal limits of the national defence privilege in the European Union

Release date: 2004-03

This paper deals with legal aspects of European Security and Defence Policy, and particularly the interpretation of Art. 296 of the Amsterdam Treaty1 (formerly 223 of the Rome Treaty) allowing “for the protection of the essential interests of its security which are connected with the production of or trade in arms, munitions and war material”, in national exemption from European Union Regulations. It brings together some of the relevant literature concerning the interpretation of Art. 296 and discusses a number of consequences of recent decisions by the European Court. The objective is to contribute to the current debate on the roles of European institutions and national governments in the emerging European defence market from a legal perspective.