European Union (EU)
Membership: 28 (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom)
Iceland, Montenegro, Turkey, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are official candidates for EU membership.
In addition, most countries of the European Free Trade Association also participate in the European Economic Area, making them part of the EU single market. Switzerland and Norway, while not official members, also have special agreements with the Union.
Background: The European Union (EU) is the result of a process of cooperation and integration that began in 1951 between six countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands). Since then, there have been seven waves of accessions:
1973: Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom;
1986: Spain and Portugal;
1995: Austria, Finland, and Sweden;
2004: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia;
2007: Bulgaria and Romania.
After the ratification failure of the Constitutional Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty (Reform Treaty), signed by all member states on 13 December 2007, aimed to consolidate the structure of the European Union. The treaty amended the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community to enhance a “closer union among the peoples of Europe.” The goals of the amendments included determining a concrete role and circulation of the EU presidency, a change to a double majority voting system, establishing a bicameral legislature and therefore convening more power to the European Parliament and European Council. The Lisbon Treaty was the final document modifying the composition and effectiveness of the EU governing system. The Treaty of Lisbon entered into force only on 1 December 2009 after a long process of ratification by all member states.
Objectives: The EU’s mission is to organize relations between Member States and between their peoples in a coherent manner and on the basis of solidarity. Its main objectives are to promote economic and social progress; to assert the identity of the EU on the international scene (through European humanitarian aid to non-EU countries, common foreign and security policy, action in international crises, and common positions within international organizations); to introduce European citizenship (which does not replace national citizenship but complements it and confers a number of civil and political rights on European citizens); to develop an area of freedom, security, and justice (linked to the operation of the internal market and more particularly the freedom of movement of persons); and to maintain and build on established EU law (all the legislation adopted by the European institutions, together with the founding treaties).
Structure and Institutions: There are five institutions involved in running the European Union: the European Parliament (elected by the peoples of the Member States), the European Council (representing the governments of the Member States), the European Commission (the executive and the body that has the right to initiate legislation), the European Court of Justice (ensuring compliance with EU law), and the Court of Auditors (responsible for auditing the overall efficiency of the EU bureaucracy). These institutions are supported by other bodies: the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (advisory bodies that help to ensure that the positions of the EU’s various economic and social categories and regions respectively are taken into account), the European Ombudsman (dealing with complaints from citizens concerning poor administration at the European level), the European Investment Bank (the EU’s long-term lending institution), and the European Central Bank (responsible for monetary policy in the Euro-area).
The European Council unanimously defines the principles and general guidelines for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). A Political Committee, consisting of Political Directors, monitors the international situation in the areas covered by the CFSP and contributes to the definition of policies by delivering opinions to the Council at the request of the Council or on its own initiative. The Political Committee also monitors the implementation of agreed policies, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Presidency and the Commission.
The CFSP is implemented by the European External Action Service (EEAS or EAS), which was created by the Treaty of Lisbon to serve as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the EU. It is under the authority of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The EAS manages foreign relations, security and defense policies.
The Cooperation Politique (COPO) assists the Political, Economic and Security Cooperation (PESC) and the Council.
Presidency: The EU Presidency is determined by a pre-established six-month rotational system. Since 2007, the Presidency is in some regards being executed in a shared manner in order to cope with the rather short six month term. Three successive presidents forming a "triple-shared presidency" work together over a 1.5 year period to accomplish a common agenda by the current president simply continuing the work of the previous "lead-president".
In 2015, Ireland and Lithuania shared the presidency. In 2014, Greece and Italy shared the presidency. In 2013, Ireland and Lithuania shared the presidency. In 2012, Denmark and Cyprus shared the presidency. In 2011, Hungary shared the Presidency with Poland. In 2010, Spain and Belgium shared the Presidency, while in 2009, the Czech Republic and Sweden shared the Presidency. Recent Presidencies include Slovenia and France (2008), Germany and Portugal (2007), Austria and Finland (2006), the United Kingdom and Luxembourg (2005), Ireland and the Netherlands (2004), Greece and Italy (2003), and Spain and Denmark (2002).
European Council of Ministers: The European Council of Ministers, also called the Council of Ministers or the “Council”, is the European Union’s chief decision-making body. The Council is comprised of ministers from Member States and endeavors to make decisions by consensus; otherwise, it takes votes by qualified majority, unless one country considers the matter under consideration to be one of national interest, in which case it can apply a veto. The Council is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
Commission of the European Communities: As of July 2015, the Commission consists of 28 commissioners, each appointed by national governments. The Commission makes decisions by a simple majority vote. However, the objective is to make decisions by consensus.
On 17 December 1999, the European Council adopted a Joint Action (EU JA) to cooperate with the Russian Federation in its efforts related to the non-proliferation and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. This action, implemented by the European Commission and performed in the framework of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSFP), implements a set of objectives that had been defined in the June 1999 European Union Common Strategy for the Russian Federation. The main goal of the EU JA is to provide a legal and operational framework for an enhanced EU role in risk reduction activities in the Russian Federation through project-oriented cooperation. It promotes coordination and avoids duplication with existing programs at the Community, Member State, and international levels.
Ongoing EU JA projects include the financing of chemical weapons destruction facilities in the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Russian Ammunitions Agency (RAA) and in accordance with Russian commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). In the nuclear field, the EU JA cooperates closely with the Ministry for Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation (MINATOM) and provides funding for the conversion of excess weapons-grade plutonium into MOX fuel. All EU JA projects are discussed and negotiated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (MID), and are implemented through existing bilateral agreements between the Russian Federation and EU Member States.
Directorate General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN): This Directorate General has been in operation since 1 January 2000, as a result of the merge between the Directorate General for Transport and the Directorate General for Energy. In June 2002 the EURATOM Safeguards Office became part of the DG TREN. The DG TREN, based in Brussels, reports to the Energy Commissioner of the EU.
The DG TREN is responsible for developing and implementing European policies in the energy and transport field. The subject of nuclear energy is of the utmost importance within the EU, since the nuclear industry currently supplies one-third of the EU’s electricity.
2015: On 4-5 February, the IAEA, the European Commission, and the European External Action Service held the third Senior Officials Meeting in Luxembourg. They reviewed their nuclear cooperation and discussed how to strengthen further cooperation.
On 26 March, High Representative Federica Mogherini delivered a statement on the 40th anniversary of entry into force of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, calling for the universalization of the Convention.
On 14-15 April, the High Representative of the EU participated in the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Lübeck, Germany. During the meeting, the ministers reaffirmed their support to the three pillars of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The ministers welcomed the political understanding on key parameters of an international agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program and supported any continuation of the efforts. The group, furthermore, condemned North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and reiterated its condemnation of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, reaffirming the policy of non-recognition and the sanctions against those involved.
During the 2015 NPT Review Conference (27 April--22 May), the EU delegation gave several statements. On 28 April, Ambassador Federica Mogherini delivered a general statement, emphasizing the importance of the NPT and reaffirming the EU’s commitment to nuclear disarmament. On 1 May, Ambassador Jacek Bylica delivered a statement to the Main Committee I, addressing issues including treaty-based nonproliferation activities and negative security assurance. On 4 May, Ambassador Gyӧrgyi Martin Zanathy delivered two statements: one to the Main Committee II and the other to the Main Committee III. The EU also submitted three working papers regarding the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and its verification regime, EU safeguards contribution and implementation, as well as issues of nuclear safety: NPT/CONF.2015/WP.50, NPT/CONF.2015/WP.55, and NPT/CONF.2015/WP.56.
On 29 May, the European Union and Japan delivered a joint statement, reaffirming their “determination to further cooperate on disarmament and non-proliferation.”
On 29-30 June, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) held its third conference in Brussels. Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete delivered an opening statement, talking about the EU safety framework and the implementation of that framework. Participants discussed issues including public engagement, operation of nuclear plants, legislation issues, spent fuel, decommissioning and radioactive waste management, as well as emergency preparedness and response.
On 14 July, E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, which will ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
On 8 October, Mr. John Gatt-Rutter gave an opening statement on behalf of the EU at the general debate of the First Committee, in which the EU welcomed the agreement of the JCPOA as well as called attention to the continued use of chemical weapons in Syria.
On 23 October, Mr. Jacek Bylica,on behalf of the EU, gave a statement in the First Committee Thematic Discussion on Outer Space, in which he voiced concern with the current level of debris orbiting the earth.
On 26 October, Mr. Ioannis Vrailas on behalf of the EU gave a statement in the First Committee Thematic Discussion on Conventional Weapons, in which he voiced the EU’s continued support for a convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) as well as called for a comprehensive approach to Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) control.
On 27 October, a statement on behalf of the EU was delivered at the First Committee Thematic Discussion on Disarmament Machinery in which the EU voiced its continued support for the CD and called for progress to be made in the establishment of an agenda. The EU also proposed methods to strengthen the effectiveness of the First Committee.
On 3 November, the EU presented an explanation of their vote of absentia for the L47 draft resolution titled “No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space”. The EU reiterated their firm commitment to the preservation of a secure space environment, but believed that the ambiguous language in the draft resolution and the concept of “not to be the first to place” could open the door to the development of reactionary outer space defense capabilities.
2014: On 17 February, the EU contributed €12 million to a trust fund established by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to assist with the destruction of Syrian chemical stockpiles.
On 25 February, the Council of the European Union released a report concerning implementation of the EU Strategy Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The report noted progress with the follow up to the 2010 NPT Review Conference, close ties with the International Atomic Energy Agency, advocacy for the CTBT, regional issues involving Iran and the DPRK, prioritizing the Conference on Disarmament, coordinating the implementation of UNSCR 1540, and strengthening export controls.
On 25 March, European Commission President Mr. Jose Barroso made a statement at the 3rd Nuclear Security Summit. The statement emphasized the objective of protecting citizens and explained the EU’s review of nuclear safety and security.
From 1-5 May, Ambassador Jacek Bylica made several statements for the EU at the 2014 NPT PrepCom. The general statement reaffirmed the NPT’s importance to the global non-proliferation regime, condemned the acts of aggression by Russia on Ukrainian sovereignty, and reiterated its support for cooperation with civil society. In Cluster I issues, the EU presented the following initiatives:
- Encouraged nuclear-weapon states to continue their efforts on increased transparency.
- Called for the US and Russia to seek further reductions in their strategic and non-strategic nuclear arsenals.
- Called for further negotiations concerning a Treaty that would ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
- Condemned DPRK nuclear tests and “satellite launches using ballistic missile technology,” and called on the country to abandon its missile programs.
- Urged Syria to comply with its Safeguards Agreement and implement an Additional Protocol.
- Expressed regret that the Conference for a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East had not yet convened.
- Reiterated the need to prevent non-state actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction and called for improved nuclear security.
In Cluster III issues, the EU promised to continue with the following initiatives:
- Stressed the functionality of the IAEA and reported the EU’s financial contributions to the Agency’s various programs.
- Explained its involvement in the Pelindaba Treaty, in accord with the African Union-EU Partnership on Peace and Security.
- Promoted initiatives such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), and the Nuclear Security Summits (NSS) process.
- Called for states to “accede to all the relevant conventions as soon as possible.”
On 5 May, the European Commission released a statement called “Boosting Europe’s defence against terrorism,” providing suggestions to prevent chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and explosives (CBRN-E) through measures including more effective detection methods, research activities, awareness-building and training, and cooperation with external actors.
On 7 May, the EU and Japan published a joint statement reaffirming their Strategic Partnership Agreement, their commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation, and their unity on strengthening nuclear security, particularly in the cases of Iran and the DPRK.
On 5 June, the G7 produced a memo confirming the importance of non-proliferation and disarmament issues. It also declared a united stance on reaching a diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue and condemned the DPRK’s continued development of nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
On 4 and 5 September, the External Action Service, in conjunction with the European Network of Independent non-proliferation think-tanks, held the third annual EU Non Proliferation and Disarmament Conference. Topics included: EU involvement with the Iran negotiations, cybersecurity, and furthering the goal of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, among others.
2013: On 18 February, in response to the DPRK’s nuclear test on 13 February and ballistic missile test on 12 December, the European Union condemned the DPRK for its recent nuclear test and the European Council strengthened sanctions against North Korea. These new measures implement sanctions approved by the UN in January, but also focused on banning the export and import of key components for ballistic missiles with the DPRK.
On 3 March, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton gave a speech at the European Parliament on the nuclear threats and human rights in North Korea.
On 14 March, the European Parliament adopted a resolution for the full implementation of the safety improvements recommended by the stress tests of the 145 nuclear reactors in the EU.
On 4 April, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton condemned the DPRK’s announcement to restart its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon.
On 22 April, Ambassador Jacek Bylica delivered the EU statement to the 2013 NPT PrepCom. Included in the statement was a reiteration of support for the CTBT, the establishment of the MEWFZ, and the unblocking of the CD.
On 4 June, Mr. Andra Kos provided a statement to the Conference on Disarmament from the European Union. The statement highlighted the need for progress within the CD.
On 11 June, as a follow-up to the statement on 4 June, Mr. Kos delivered a statement on behalf of the European Union entitled “Revitalization of the CD”.
On 30 September, IISS convened the EU Non-proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2013. Speakers included Jacek Bylica, Dr Patricia Lewis, and Dr Lassina Zerbo, with subjects covered such as ballistic missiles, strategic trade controls, nuclear security, and the 2010 NPT review process.
On 7 October, Mr. Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the European External Action Service, delivered the European Union opening statement to the UNGA First Committee. The statement supported the fulfillment of the Arms Trade Treaty, commended the work of the OPCW in relation to Syria, underscored contemporary proliferation challenges, and voiced support for the CTBT and for the CD as the appropriate channel for dialogue on disarmament.
On 17 October, Mr. Andra Kos followed the European Union’s opening statement to the UNGA First Committee by providing a statement on the subject of nuclear weapons. Noting the proliferation concerns over the DPRK, the statement calls for further support of the IAEA.
On 21 October, the Council of the European Union released a report on the conclusions of ensuring an effective EU in combating the proliferation of WMD. Critical points included: effectively protecting access to proliferation-sensitive knowledge in the EU; addressing new proliferation pathways; reacting to rapid developments which provide proliferators with easy access to know-how, and continued support for dialogue on important nonproliferation issues.
Also on 21 October, the Council of the European Union produced a report on the Syrian situation, in which the EU confirmed its support of the joint UN-OPCW mission to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons.
On 23 October, a statement by Commissioner Malmstrom noted the European Parliament’s request to suspend the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program Agreement (TFTP). Malmstrom commented that there were ongoing investigations regarding the security of the data held within the program.
On 25 October, Ms. Clara Ganslandt delivered a statement on behalf of the EU to the UNGA First Committee on the thematic discussions on Outer Space. The statement noted the EU’s support on preventing outer space from becoming an arena of conflict and that transparency and confidence-building measures are critical in ensuring this.
On 24 November, European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, released a statement regarding the Iranian nuclear deal concluded on the same day. Within the statement he heralded the agreement as a “major breakthrough for global security and stability.”
On 28 November, the Court of Justice of the European Union upheld the decision to freeze the funds of Kala Naft, an Iranian company, in the context of anti-nuclear proliferation measures taken against Iran. Kala Naft was found to be providing support for Iran’s nuclear activities, including involvement in procuring prohibited goods and technology.
2012: On 23 January, the Council of the European Union broadened the EU's sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, citing serious and deepening concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme. The sanctions targeted sources of finance for Iran’s nuclear programme.
On 26 April, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group released its report on the stress tests performed on European nuclear power plants.
In May, the EU made four statements to the first Preparatory Conference of the 2015 NPT Review Conference cycle. In its general statement, the EU continued to stress the importance of universalizing the NPT and called on those states that have not joined the treaty to do so immediately. In Cluster I issues, the EU presented these initiatives:
- Called on all States parties to work on implementing the actions designed to strengthen the 3 pillars of the NPT Treaty.
- Called for the continued overall reduction of the global stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
- Called on the Conference of Disarmament to consider the question of the enlargement of its membership.
- Promoted further consideration of security assurances and welcomed the respective adjustments in the nuclear postures of nuclear weapons states.
In Cluster II issues, the EU continued to do the following:
- Fully support the IAEA’s system of safeguards as a component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
- Actively address the major proliferation and non-compliance challenges. Syria, Iran and the DPRK continue to be areas of concern for the EU.
- Urge Iran to suspend its nuclear activities, and seek to reach a comprehensive long-term settlement that would restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and fully respecting Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.
- Stress the need to do everything possible to prevent WMD falling into the hands of terrorists.
In Cluster III issues, the EU made the following statements:
- Emphasized the right to use nuclear energy with peaceful purposes and under IAEA safeguards.
- Urged the states that have not signed and ratified the CTBT to do so immediately.
- Continued to have a comprehensive review of the safety of all EU nuclear power plants in the light of the Fukushima accident.
On 31 May, the Ad hoc Group on Nuclear Security released its report to the Council of the European Union.
On 19 June, a provisional deal with the European Council to strengthen the hands of EU countries negotiating bilateral energy agreements with non-EU states for a common EU energy policy was signed by the Energy Committee on Tuesday.
On 1 July, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union shifted from Denmark to Cyprus.
On 1 July, two exemptions in the package of EU sanctions against Iran ended. These exceptions were contracts for importing Iranian oil that were concluded before 23 January, and EU insurers may no more provide third-party liability and environmental liability insurance for the transport of Iranian oil.
On 4 October, the European Commission released its report on the comprehensive risk and safety assessments (stress tests) of nuclear power plants in the European Union and related activities. The Commission also released a summary in which it states that the stress tests confirmed the high safety standards at nuclear power plants, but that they need further improvement.
On 15 October, the European Council strengthened sanctions against Iran citing a lack of progress in nuclear talks. These measures focused on ensuring that EU financial institutions do not process funds that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear program or to the development of ballistic missiles.
2011: On 22 January, the EU High Representative (HR) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton issued a statement following talks with Iran in Istanbul regarding its nuclear program. She expressed disappointment with the outcome of the talks by noting Iran’s insistence on “pre-conditions relating to enrichment and sanctions” prior to moving forward. She concluded by saying the “door remains open, the choice remains in Iran’s hands.”
On 9 March, the P5+1 (E3+3) issued a statement at an IAEA Board of Governors meeting regarding Iran’s nuclear program. It stated the group’s commitment to finding a long-term solution to restore international confidence in the nuclear program, noting again the “door remains open” for further negotiations and dialogue with the state.
On 15 and 16 March, EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger spoke before the European Parliament’s Energy and Environment Committees on plans to implement nuclear stress tests for the EU’s 143 nuclear plants. The tests will take into account risks such as flooding, earthquakes, aircraft accidents, cooling system stability, local electricity supply failure, as well as cyber and terrorist attacks. The tests will likely be conducted in the second half of the year.
On 24/25 March, the European Council concluded (para 31) that the safety of all EU nuclear plants should be reviewed on the basis of comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessments.
On 4 April, the EU reiterated its support in mitigating the impact caused by landmines throughout the world. It emphasized its support with projects in Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sri Lanka.
On 5 April, the European Parliament adopted a resolution regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of EU funding for decommissioning nuclear power plants in new Member States, namely Lithuania, Bulguria and Slovakia. It called for greater means to harmonize future decommissioning efforts throughout the EU.
On 4 May, the EU’s Economic and Social Committee issued an opinion on the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. It proposed a Directive to address the issue, requesting member states, the nuclear industry and relevant scientific communities to “provide further detailed, transparent, risk-assessed information on radioactive waste management options to the public as whole.”
On 17 May, the EU’s Baroness Ashton met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After the meeting, they issued remarks calling on Iran to drop preconditions and “to meet its international obligations and negotiate seriously on the nuclear issue.”
On 23 May, the EU Council adopted legislation extending restrictive measures against Iran due to “concerns about its nuclear programme.” It added several names and entities to lists subject to EU autonomous measures, which include the freezing of assets and travel restrictions.
On 1 June, Germany, a viable EU member, denounced its nuclear power for the use of solar energy and other reusable energy. Chancellor Angela Merkel predicted the nuclear reactors to be disassembled within the next ten years and stated that the new strategy for the country will allow for a more “independent, reliable, economical and environmentally sound energy supply.” Furthermore, on 8 June Switzerland's lower House of Parliament voted for the gradual closure of all nuclear power plants in the country. This transition would mean a rise in prices for gas which is mostly provided by foreign suppliers.
On 1 June, the EU ordered stress tests using EU wide criteria of its 143 nuclear power plants.
On 5 July, representatives of most Arab states met in Brussels for an EU seminar on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Participants including senior officials from Iran, Iraq, ,Israel, and Syria discussed prospective measures for non-proliferation and secure use of nuclear energy in the region.
The Council of the European Union released its new framework on the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. The adapted rules urge the enhancement of maintenance, inspections and control of spent fuel from EU countries and to comply with this framework until 2015.
On 19 July, the Council of the European Union adopted the "radioactive waste and spent fuel management directive" committing EU member states to bury radioactive waste from the EU’s 143 nuclear power plants in secure bunkers. Member states have until 2015 to submit national programmes.
On 20 July, research ministers of the EU and EFTA states as well as countries within the Framework Program met in Sopot, Poland for the Informal Competitiveness Council. The major topic of discussion was the common EU strategic framework for research and innovation for financing programs.
On 16 September, the European Commission adopted the 1st Situation Report on Education and Training in the Nuclear Energy Field in the European Union.
On 27 September, the EU amended Regulation (EC) No 1334/2000 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports of dual-use items and technology.
On 29 September, the European Commission adopted COM(2011) 593, the Proposal for a Council Directive laying down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation.
On 10 November, the European Commission adopted Communication "Energy 2020 - A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy" in which the EU calls for further research for nuclear energy, as well as enhancing the legal framework for nuclear safety and security. It also calls for the EU to promote legally binding nuclear-safety, security and non-proliferation standards worldwide.
On 24 November, the European Commission began consideration of a proposal for a further €550m in support for the nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes in Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Slovakia.
On 19 December, the Council of the European Union extended the Euratom programme for nuclear research for 2012 and 2013
2010: On 10 February, the EU passed the “Situation in Iran” resolution (2010/C 341 E/03), which reiterates the concerns of the EU in regards to the nature of the Iranian nuclear program and calls on Iran to implement the Additional Protocol.
On 10 March, the European Parliament issued a resolution calling for “all parties to seize the opportunity” at the 2010 NPT Review Conference to advance the goal of nuclear disarmament. It also addressed several other issues:
- The review by all parties of their military doctrines, renouncing a first-strike option;
- The support of the New START negotiations between the United States and Russia;
- The “importance of the earliest possible entry into force of the CTBT”;
- The “concern” that Israel, Pakistan and India are not members of the NPT and a call for them to “become State Parties to the treaty.”
On 10 March, the European Parliament issued a resolution regarding European Security Strategy (ESS) and the Common Security and Defense Policy. It emphasized the ESS and highlights several threats and challenges to the EU, such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and small arms and light weapons, cluster munitions and landmines. It also notes that ESS “welcomes UNSC Resolution 1887 (2009),” reaffirming its calls “for a halt to the spread of nuclear weapons and the need to reinforce all three pillars of the NPT.” Other points of the resolution included:
- The importance of creating an “international system of safe and guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel,” such as one under IAEA control;
- The welcoming of a commitment by Russia and the United States to conclude a new agreement to replace START I;
- Taking note of the German 24 October 2009 coalition government’s call for the “withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany,” calling upon “other Member State with U.S. nuclear weapons on their soil to make a similar clear commitment”;
- The “full support for wider disarmament and a total ban on weapons, such as chemical and biological weapons, antipersonnel mines, cluster and depleted uranium munitions” urging “enhanced multilateral efforts” within several international conventions.
On 27 March, EU HR Baroness Catherine Ashton issued a statement congratulating the United States and Russia for “concluding the negotiations of the post-START treaty,” noting that the agreement helps set “the stage for further reductions” and “enhances the security” of the international community.
On 29 March, the EU adopted a Council Decision (2010/212/CFSP) outlining the Union’s stance and suggestions on priorities for the 2010 NPT RevCon. The Decision’s key points called for “full compliance with all the provisions of the NPT by all States Parties,” advancing progress on the 1995 Middle East Resolution and establishment of a nuclear-weapon- free zone in the region.
On 12 April, EU President Herman Van Rompuy spoke at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C., stating that “international security requires efforts and cooperation from all states” to counter “nuclear terrorism…a most serious threat to international security with potentially devastating consequences.” Van Rompuy also reiterated the EU’s support for UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and the G8 Global Partnership.
On 3 May EU HR Catherine Ashton gave remarks on behalf of the EU at the NPT RevCon. She reaffirmed the EU’s “commitment to seeking a safer world for all and to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.” She also voiced concerns regarding North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs and referenced an EU Council Decision to emphasize what the RevCon should address. The priorities included compliance with the NPT, making “progress on implementing the NPT 1995 Middle East Resolution”, and ensuring the right to peaceful nuclear energy for all States Parties.
On 21 May, EU HR Catherine Ashton gave a statement on Iran, noting how the EU and the E3+3 (P5+1) remained ready to meet on Iran’s nuclear program. She emphasized how concerns about Iran’s program “have increased since the October meeting given Iran’s decision to start enriching LEU to 20%.”
On 9 June, the EU made a statement regarding the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1929, noting that the overall EU goal in regards to Iran is achieving a “comprehensive and long-term settlement which would restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme”. The European Council made a similar statement on 17 June.
On 20 July, the EU released a communication on EU Counterterrorism policy. It stressed the importance of the EU export control regime for dual-use items to counter the potential weaponization of chemical, biological and nuclear materials by non-state actors. It also emphasized the efforts of the European Bomb Database and the Early Warning System for explosives and CBRN materials.
On 27 July, the EU expanded sanctions against Iran in order to block its controversial nuclear program. The changes are set out in the 26 July 2010 Council Decision and Council Regulation 668/2010. These sanctions affect the energy, insurance, transport, and financial sectors of Iran. This effort was criticized by both Iran and the Russian Federation, which claimed that it was undermining efforts to seek political and diplomatic settlement of issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program. On 1 August, EU HR Catherine Ashton made a statement regarding the Convention on Cluster Munitions and its entry into force. She stated that 37 states have already ratified the treaty and 107 states were signatories, and she called for “universalisation and full implementation” of all nonproliferation and disarmament treaties.
On 22 September, EU HR Catherine Ashton delivered a statement regarding the E3+3’s “determination and commitment” to seek solutions to the Iranian nuclear issue achieved at “an early date.” She also welcomed the option of a “Vienna Group” meeting on a revised agreement for fuel supply to the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) and called upon IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to head the effort.
On 25 October, the EU adopted a fourth round of “restrictive measures” against Iran and the technologies used to support “Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes.” The measures covered Iranian trade, financial services, restrictions on individuals, and the energy and transport sectors. It also placed restrictions on the Iranian oil and gas industry and “dual-use goods and technology.”
On 9 November, the EU adopted a conclusion on the EU’s “preparedness and response in the event of a CBRN attack.” It called upon member states to “ensure that the CBRN risk is properly incorporated into their emergency response planning” and that each member state coordinates with other members to “exchange information and best practices” on CBRN preparedness.
On 14 December, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the CBRN Action Plan initially discussed in 2009. It called for (inter alia):
- “The urgent establishment of a European crisis-response mechanism” to ensure a rapid response capability in the event of a CBRN attack or disaster;
- The establishment of a “European civil protection force” to coordinate and prepare essential resources during an emergency;
- The creation and regular update of a “database of the medical countermeasures” that Member States can utilize in the event of a CBRN incident; and
- The completion of an “EU CBRN Roadmap between now and 2013.”
The resolution also urged Member States to “rapidly review and apply the CBRN Action Plan” as “swiftly” as possible.
On 22 December, the European Council extended “restrictive measures” against persons and entities known to have involvement with North Korea’s nuclear, ballistic missile or other related WMD program activities. The measures included both a “visa ban and an asset freeze.”
2009: On 3 March, Deputy Representative Ivan Pintir of the Czech Republic gave a speech at the Conference on Disarmament on behalf of the European Union calling for the immediate negotiation of a fissile materials cutoff treaty (FMCT). In the absence of a treaty, the EU called on all states concerned to “declare and uphold an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”
On 5 April, following a North Korean missile test, the European Union and the United States issued a joint statement. The statement condemned the launch, saying it “defies UN Security Council resolutions and harms peace and stability in northeast Asia.” The EU stated that such action “demands a response by the international community,” and called on the DPRK to “honor its commitment to abandon all nuclear weapons programs, to abide by recognized norms of international relations, and to work to promote peace and stability in northeast Asia.”
On 17 April, the European Commission adopted the 2009-2011 program to combat terrorism and WMD. The program lays out the first set of global counter-terrorism measures, focusing on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Sahel region of Africa.
On 27 April, the European Council issued a statement saying that it “warmly supports the new direction of U.S. policy towards Iran” and “reaffirms its full and unequivocal support for efforts to find a negotiated long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.” Nonetheless, the Council also asserted that Iran’s “nuclear program remains a matter of grave concern for the international community.” Further, “Iran must restore confidence in an exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities” and “comply with its international obligations.”
In May 2009, the EU made multiple statements at the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference. In its general statement, the EU reiterated its commitment to promote the objectives of the NPT. The EU also called on all States to identify ways with which to strengthen the NPT regime. The EU also called upon States in the Middle East to establish an effectively verifiable zone free of nuclear weapons. In a Cluster I meeting statement, the EU presented a realistic list of disarmament initiatives:
- The universal ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty;
- The start of negotiations for a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons;
- The establishment of transparency and confidence building measures by nuclear powers;
- Further negotiations for a replacement of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty;
- The inclusion of tactical weapons in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty replacement and in other arms control and disarmament processes;
- The start of consultations on a treaty banning short and intermediate range ground-to-ground missiles;
- Universal adherence to and implementation of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation;
- Mobilization in all other areas of disarmament.
On 18-19 June, the European Council met in Brussels. It issued a series of Presidential Conclusions on a wide range of subjects. Addressing the North Korean file (p. 29), the statement “condemns firmly the most recent nuclear test and the launches using ballistic missile technology carried out by the DPRK.” The Council expressed support for UNSC Resolution 1874, which tightened sanctions against the DPRK, and insisted on the “importance of a swift and efficient implementation of all these measures, including those aimed at cargoes inspections bound for, and/or out of the DPRK.”
In the same document, the Council issued a “Declaration on Iran” (p. 30) in response to the 12 June Iranian elections and their aftermath. The declaration stated that “questions over the conduct of the elections were issues that the Iranian authorities should investigate,” and condemned the Iranian government’s crackdown on protestors and journalists. In addition, it “stressed the importance of Iran engaging with the international community on all issues of concern, in particular over the issue of Iran's nuclear program, in the spirit of mutual respect and full recognition of Iran's international obligations.”
On 24 June, the European Commission adopted a proposed policy package on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) security. The CBRN Action Plan has the aim “that CBRN materials are well protected and the potential for them being lost or stolen is limited,” intends to strengthen “the exchange of information between Member States on CBRN security issues,” and strives to improve “the use of detection systems across the EU.” Following discussion by Member States during the second half of 2009, implementation of the Action Plan will begin in 2010 if it is approved by the Council.
In July the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group released its first report since its inception in 2007.
On 12 December, the European Council adopted a decision issuing the European Commission a mandate to negotiate a peaceful nuclear energy partnership between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and Russia. The Council highlighted that Euratom already has four other cooperation agreements with other “major suppliers” such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Kazakhstan. There was no timeline associated with the mandate.
2008: On 10 March, the European Council noted that the adoption of UNSC resolution 1803 regarding Iran (adopted on 3 March 2008) was a clear signal of the international community’s unity. The Council also adopted an updated version of the common list of military equipment covered by the EU code of conduct on arms exports.
On 29 April, the Council underlined its commitment to work with Pakistan on nonproliferation and disarmament issues. The Council stressed that support from Pakistan for the beginning of negotiations on an FMCT at the CD would be a strong signal in that respect and underlined the importance of Pakistan’s cooperation with the IAEA regarding Iran.
On 16 June, the Council approved the last progress report on the implementation of the EU nonproliferation strategy and an updated list of priorities for its implementation in the future. The Council also approved a progress report on the implementation of EU’s strategy to combat the illicit accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW). Finally, the Council took note of an inventory of EU instruments relevant for addressing CBRN risks (The CBRN Inventory), outlining the instruments that can be used to prevent, prepare for and respond to CBRN risks and enable the Council to take stock of the EU’s CBRN prevention capabilities and help towards proposing policy measures in 2009.
On 13 October, the Council noted the 10th annual report on the EU Code of Conduct on arms exports on the implementation of the Code and recommended improvements.
On 10 November, the Council noted that the EU Satellite Centre was soon to benefit from government-source satellite images enhancing the Union’s analysis capability and the conduct of ESDP crisis management operations and missions. The Council also recalled the need to secure the EU’s future space observation capability and noted the European Space Agency’s program and work to strengthen Europe’s surveillance capability.
On 11 November, the Council amended its Common Position on Iran concerning restrictive measures, with a view to the implementation of UNSC resolutions. The amended Common Position provided that Member States shall exercise vigilance over the activities of financial institutions within their jurisdiction with all banks domiciled in Iran and their branches and subsidiaries in order to avoid such activities contributing to proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or to the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems. The Council identified the banks, branches, and subsidiaries to which the provisions apply and modified the annexes to the Common Position accordingly. Finally, the Council amended EU Regulations concerning restrictive measures against Iran to ensure the implementation of the measures contained in the Common Position in the Community legislation and its uniform application by economic operators within the Union.
Also on 11 November, the Council adopted a Joint Action in support of the BWC within the framework of the EU Nonproliferation Strategy.
On 8 December, the Council approved the progress report on the implementation of the EU Nonproliferation Strategy and endorsed the “New Lines for Action by the EU in Combating the Proliferation of WMD and their Delivery Systems,” that underlined, among other measures, increased awareness, intensified cooperation with third parties, the provision of technical assistance to third countries, measures to combat intangible transfers of knowledge, and intensifying efforts to combat proliferation financing.
At the same meeting on 8 December, the Council also decided to express its support for the establishment of a nuclear fuel bank under the control of the IAEA and underlined the intention of the EU to contribute up to 25 million Euro ($33 million) to this project, once the conditions and modalities for the bank have been approved by the Board of Governors of the IAEA, and manifested its intention towards the elaboration of a Council Joint Action establishing the political, financing, and security framework for the bank.
Also on 8 December, the Council approved the progress report on the implementation of EU’s strategy to combat the illicit accumulation or and trafficking in small arms, light weapons, and ammunition and agreed upon a common text to be used in future SALW negotiations. The Council also replaced a Code of Conduct with a Common Position governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment, obliging each Member State to assess, on a case-by-case basis, export license applications made to it for items on the EU Common Military List, in accordance with a list of established criteria. Finally, the Council adopted a set of conclusions on the draft Code of Conduct for outer space activities.
On 9 December, the High Representative Javier Solana presented his “Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy – Providing Security in a Changing World.” Solana stressed that five years after the adoption of the Strategy, dangers have not gone away but “some have become more significant, and all more complex. Moreover, globalization is accelerating shifts in power and is exposing differences in values.” Solana stressed that the Strategy remained a work in progress and the Europeans needed to be “still more capable, more coherent and more active.”
2007: On 12 February, the European Council reached an agreement on a draft common position on deterring Iranian nuclear ambitions in accordance with UNSCR 1737 (adopted on 23 December 2006). The document called for restrictive measures including a ban on goods, technology, and financial support that could be used for nuclear proliferation, visa bans for persons associated with the Iranian nuclear program, and steps to prevent teaching and training of Iranian nationals in matters associated with nuclear proliferation.
Several important nonproliferation issues were discussed during the 23 April European Council meeting in Luxembourg. The Council agreed to hold a conference with the EU Institute of Security Studies on the topic of universalization and compliance with the International Code of Conduct (ICOC) against ballistic missile proliferation. The Council also discussed ways of implementing UNSC Resolutions 1737 and 1747 (adopted on 24 March 2007), both of which concerned the Iranian nuclear program. Specifically, the Council approved an additional list of targets subject to economic sanctions not mentioned in the UNSC list.
The Council also approved several conclusions for the 2007 NPT PrepCom meeting. The conclusions expressed support for the NPT, calling it the “cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime.” Support was also expressed for nuclear disarmament in accordance with Article VI and peaceful nuclear energy under Article IV.
At the 17-18 June meeting of the European Council, a conclusion was adopted expressing European Union support for a legally binding international Arms Trade Treaty. This action was taken in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s January 2007 request for UN member states to express their views on such a treaty.
On 17 July, the European Commission established the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group.
At the 15-16 October meeting, the Council underlined its continuous commitment to the comprehensive package proposed to Iran in June 2006, reaffirmed its support for the resolutions of the UN Security Council, and regretted the fact that Iran had failed to comply with the call of the international community to suspend all enrichment related activities.
On 19 November, the Council welcomed the progress made towards the denuclearization of the DPRK, in particular through the shutdown of nuclear facilities, and adopted a joint action on financial support as an extra-budgetary contribution for monitoring and verification activities by the IAEA in the DPRK.
On 10 December, the Council endorsed a progress report of the High Representative and the Commission on the implementation of the EU nonproliferation strategy. The Council also welcomed the report of the UN Secretary General towards an Arms Trade Treaty and underlined the importance of the work of the UN-appointed Group of Governmental Experts.
2006: The European Council of Ministers, on 27 February, adopted the European Union’s “joint action” for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. This will provide “immediate and direct” application to a number of the components pertaining to the 2003 European Strategy. The Council also adopted the biological and toxin weapons action plan which supports the previously mentioned joint action. However, this action plan will be executed by member states in the case of biological or chemical weapon violation within the EU. Finally, on 16 November, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for stronger Union commitments in order to strengthen the convention.
On 20 March, the Council adopted a common position relating to the 2006 review conference of the BTWC. The document states that the EU considers the BTWC a key component of the nonproliferation regime and that more effective verification and compliance measures are needed to strengthen the convention. The common position was approved in light of the BTWC preparatory committee (26-28 April) and review conference (20 November-8 December).
The Council also confirmed its support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Specifically, the Union encouraged the improvement of the verification systems, fulfilling the obligations of signatory members, and finally, augmenting the benefits of treaty participation.
On 6 June, the European Council of Ministers approved a joint action on support for IAEA activities for nuclear security and implementation. The document specifically mentions the need to work toward universalization of nonproliferation security instruments such as the comprehensive safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol, the need to provide regulatory and legislative assistance for safeguards, and the need to prevent illicit trafficking of sensitive nuclear material.
The European Council of Ministers, on 11 December, adopted a concept paper pertaining to the monitoring and improvement of implementation for the EU’s WMD and nonproliferation strategy. Ultimately, the Council worked to create a cooperative working method within the Union to improve implementation.
2005: Following the conclusion of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, the EU released a Council Common Position document related to the conference. The EU stressed that it continues to regard the NPT as “the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.” The document noted the need to work toward the universal accession of the NPT and achieve the full compliance of all States Parties. The importance of a commitment to both nonproliferation and disarmament was highlighted, as was the importance of developing effective export controls and adopting the Additional Protocol as the standard of verification.
On 8 June 2005, the EU released the Progress Report on the implementation of Chapter III of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The report highlighted the efforts the EU would undertake to promote nonproliferation and nuclear safety. Among the initiatives mentioned was the importance of the NPT’s three pillars and global effort toward its universalization. The EU also emphasized the importance of the universalization of the Additional Protocol. The EU noted that all its member states had ratified the CPPNM and encouraged widening the scope of the convention. The document also placed a heavy emphasis on developing export controls on WMD. It was noted that the EC 2005 budget included EUR 3 million for the investigation of measures to combat the proliferation and illicit trafficking on WMD and light weapons.
The Brussels European Council occurred on 16-17 June. The meeting emphasized several issues, including the importance of the fight against terrorism. The Council noted the need to develop strategies to stop the financing of terrorists and encourage international review and dialogue concerning ways to combat terrorism. The Council also supported the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and called on all UN members to sign the convention. The Council also noted its support for the NPT and its disappointment in the 2005 Review Conference’s failure to achieve a final document by consensus. On the issue of Iran, the European Council welcomed negotiations for trade and cooperation, but pointed out that the total suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities would have to be maintained in order for dialogue to continue.
On 20 June the EU and the United States discussed a Joint Programme on the Work on the Nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Agreement was reached on a number of initiatives, which included building global support for nonproliferation, reinforcing the NPT, recognizing the importance of biological threats, promoting full implementation of UNSCR 1540, establishing a dialogue on compliance and verification, strengthening the IAEA, advancing the Proliferation Security Initiative, reaffirming their commitment to the Global Partnership, and enhancing nuclear security.
The EU and the United States also released on 20 June the Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation in the Field of Nonproliferation and the Fight Against Terrorism. The document noted the growing threat of terrorism using weapons of mass destruction and pledged to cooperate in efforts to combat terrorism on a global scale with the goal of adopting the Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism.
On 18 July, the 2674th General Affairs Council Meeting released a statement announcing the adoption of a Joint Action initiative on support for nuclear security and verification efforts by the IAEA. The EU allocated nearly EUR 4 million for support in four areas:
- Strengthening protection of nuclear materials in use, storage, and transport;
- Strengthening security of radioactive materials in non-nuclear applications;
- Strengthening capabilities for detection and response to illicit trafficking;
- Drafting legislation for the implementation of states’ obligations under agreements with the IAEA.
2004: On 26 February, the European Parliament issued a Resolution on Nuclear Disarmament. The resolution, which was an EU preparation for the Third NPT PrepCom 2004, called upon Member States to form a common front and attach special importance to new initiatives on nuclear disarmament and the revitalization of the UN Conference on Disarmament.
On 17 May, the Council of the European Union adopted the “Council Joint Action on support for IAEA activities under its Nuclear Security Programme and in the framework of the implementation of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.” According to paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the Joint Action, the EU shall support the IAEA activities under the Nuclear Security Plan for the purposes of giving immediate and practical implementation to some elements of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of WMD. Paragraph 2 states that the projects of the IAEA, corresponding to measures of the EU Strategy, are projects that aim at strengthening:
- the physical protection of nuclear materials and other radioactive materials in use, storage and transport, and of nuclear facilities;
- the security of radioactive materials in non-nuclear applications;
- the states’ capabilities for detection and response to illicit trafficking.
These projects (for which the Council allocated a budget of EUR 3,329,000) will be carried out in countries needing assistance in the area of nuclear security. For their implementation, the EU Commission would conclude a financial agreement with the IAEA on the conditions for the use of the EU contribution. The IAEA would ensure visibility of the EU contribution. The Annex to the Joint Action contains a detailed description of the projects to be carried out.
On 26 June, the EU and the United States agreed to expand their cooperation to prevent, contain, and reverse the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. Their commitments built on their agreement at the 2003 U.S.-EU summit and furthered President Bush's February 11 proposals to heighten international action against WMD proliferation and the G-8 Action Plan on Nonproliferation adopted at the Sea Island Summit.
On 13 December, the General Affairs and External Relations Council reviewed the progress of the Action Plan against Proliferation of WMD established by the European Council in Thessaloniki in 2003. The Council encouraged strengthening the efficiency of the EU export control system for the control of dual use goods.
2003: On 20 and 21 March, the Council of the European Union met in Brussels to discuss issues concerning nonproliferation and the war against terrorism. At this meeting, the Council acknowledged the role that defense- and security-related research and development could play in encouraging cutting-edge technologies to help stimulate innovation and competitiveness. In addition, it specifically noted the role of the UN Security Council and its ability to help prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). With respect to the situation in Iraq, the EU Council committed itself to the territorial integrity, sovereignty, political stability, and the full and effective disarmament of Iraq. In terms of North Korea, the Union expressed deep concern and called on the DPRK to abstain from any action that could aggravate the current situation. It also reaffirmed that North Korea’s non-compliance with its international obligations in the field of nuclear weapons was a serious concern for the entire international community and was detrimental to its own interest. In the international field, the EU strongly emphasized its commitment to the fundamental role of the United Nations in the international system. The Union expressed its support for the Security Council with respect to the maintenance of international peace and stability. In addition, the EU stated that it would continue to assist the further strengthening of the international coalition against terrorism. It committed itself to intensifying work for a comprehensive, coherent, and effective multilateral policy of the international community to prevent the proliferation of WMD.
From July to October 2003, the Council of the European Union and the General Affairs and External Relations Council met several times to discuss issues related to the nonproliferation of WMD and security in the region. Some of the most highly debated topics throughout these meetings included the EU/UN Cooperation in Crisis Management and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
In late September, the Council announced a joint declaration by the EU and the UN on Cooperation in Crisis Management. The aim of the declaration was to increase effectiveness of support provided by the EU under the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). The declaration concluded months of discussion on the development of EU civilian and military crisis management capabilities, with the goal of ensuring that UN action may effectively benefit from an EU contribution.
With regard to the non-proliferation of WMD, the Council agreed in late September to implement an Action Plan against the Proliferation of WMD. The plan was intended to be a follow-up to the Basic Principles for an EU Strategy Against Proliferation of WMD.
The Council also adopted a decision on the implementation of a joint action with respect to the EU’s contribution to combating the accumulation and spread of SALW in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Decision provided financial support for projects aimed at training law enforcement instructors, improving control of the legal firearms trade, combating illicit trafficking, and facilitating the destruction of surplus weapons and improvements of stockpile management. The Council made a financial agreement with the UN and the Department for Disarmament Affairs in New York for the allocation of resources for this project.
On 12-13 December 2003, a European Council of Heads of State and Government was held. During this summit, an “EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” was formally adopted.
The Strategy, which has been periodically updated since then, created an integrated framework for EU action in the field of nonproliferation. Furthermore, it makes nonproliferation a stated priority for the EU. The cornerstone of the EU strategy for combating proliferation of WMD is effective multilateralism. The instruments available for curbing WMD proliferation range from multilateral treaties and verification mechanisms; export controls; political and economic levers including trade and development policies; Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR); and interdiction of illegal procurement activities to, as a last resort, coercive measures in accordance with the UN Charter.
On 22 December 2003, the Council adopted Directive 2003/122/EURATOM on the control of high-activity sealed radioactive sources and orphan sources within the EU. The strengthening of the control of high-activity radioactive sources in all third countries, in accordance with the G-8 statement and Action Plan on securing radioactive sources, remained an important objective to be pursued by the Council.
2002: On 15 April, the Council of the EU adopted conclusions on a list of concrete measures with regard to the implications of the terrorist threat on the nonproliferation, disarmament, and arms control policies of the EU. Those measures concern multilateral instruments, export controls, international cooperation, and political dialogue. As regards multilateral instruments, the Council adopted the following concrete measures: 1) support all activities related to the universalization of existing multilateral instruments (e.g., CWC, BWC, Geneva Protocol, NPT, CTBT, CCWC, and Ottawa Convention); 2) work for the effective implementation of the international instruments as well as political commitments worldwide; 3) support the work of the international organizations (e.g., OPCW, CTBTO, IAEA) in their endeavors; and 4) reinforce, where needed, the multilateral instruments.
On 21 May, the EU Internal Market Council approved Euro 645,000 in funding for the EU Co-operation Program for Non-Proliferation in the Russian Federation for the period 2002-03. The money will pay for one expert and secretary in Moscow, and a team of three experts plus a Head of Section based in Brussels. The program was launched by a Council Joint Action in December 1999.
On 24 May, the EU warmly welcomed the signing of SORT, also known as the Treaty of Moscow, describing the landmark deal as a step forward for the international community. At the same time, the EU expressed its hope that this treaty would be followed by other initiatives to strengthen international security and stability.
In July, the Council of the European Union, which makes the decisions necessary for defining and implementing CFSP on the basis of general guidelines established by the European Council, agreed on measures to take external action against terrorism. Those measures included implementing and developing the targeted initiatives within the field of nonproliferation, disarmament, and arms control adopted by the European Council on 15 April 2002. Another measure was to develop a common evaluation of terrorist threat against the Member States or the forces deployed under European Security and Defence Policy outside the Union in crisis management operations, including the threat posed by terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
On 27 September, the EU welcomed Cuba’s decision to adhere to the NPT. It issued a statement that “the European Union calls upon those states not yet members to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states,” adding that “the Union attaches special importance to achieving universal adherence to the NPT.”
On 30 September, in the general debate at the First Committee of the 57th session of the General Assembly, the EU reiterated its support for the International Code of Conduct against the proliferation of ballistic missiles (ICOC). The EU urged all States to attend the ICOC launching conference at the Hague on 25-26 November 2002 and join the Code.
2001: On 15 February, Sweden’s Ambassador Henrik Salander spoke to the UN Conference on Disarmament on behalf of the EU and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the EU, laying down expectations and hopes for 2001. The EU pledged to contribute to the full implementation of the Final Document of the NPT, stressing the two agreed practical steps with regard to the CD (FMCT negotiations and a subsidiary body to deal with nuclear disarmament). Salander stated that an immediate launch of FMCT negotiations with engagement in both nuclear disarmament and PAROS under the auspices of subsidiary bodies constituted the basis for an agreement to begin work in the CD. He further noted that the Amorim proposal contained aspects necessary for agreement if the Conference viewed it pragmatically.
On February 26, EU ministers signed the Treaty of Nice (the fourth version of the Union’s founding charter since the mid-1980s). It provides for the enlargement of the 20-member European Commission to 27 and lets countries opt out of common policies they do not like. This treaty also alters the voting rights of the existing 15 Member states, paves the way for additional EU membership, and sets the EU on the path toward another round of treaty reforms to be completed by 2004. The Treaty of Nice must be ratified by the 15 EU legislatures and the European Parliament to take effect.
The EU hosted a conference on progress in Non-Proliferation and Disarmament in Brussels on 8-9 March. The aim was to reinforce coordination among programs with a focus on science, technology, and expertise on nonproliferation. The main actions focus on projects like plutonium and spent fuel storage; monitoring of storage safety, environment, and human security at nuclear sites; preparation of decontamination, and re-conversion of production facilities.
The EU participated actively in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Crime, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 31 May 2001.
On 21 June, the EU made a joint declaration with Canada on nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament. Inter alia, they underlined the importance of continued reductions in all types of nuclear weapons, and looked for reduction to be accompanied by effective mechanisms of transparency and irreversibility.
They welcomed the decision to hold a conference on the facilitation of the entry into force of the CTBT in New York in September 2001, and they agreed on the need for active follow-up to promote ratification, especially by the remaining 13 Annex 2 States necessary for the treaty’s entry into force. They noted that the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is crucial to the strengthening of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.
The two sides announced their full support for efforts to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and welcomed the adoption by the Agency of a Model Protocol supplementing existing safeguard agreements. They also announced their deep disappointment that the Conference on Disarmament (CD) had not yet fulfilled its 1995 mandate to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material (FMCT) for nuclear weapons and urged all CD members to reach an agreement to allow for the opening of FMCT negotiations during the current CD session. They also supported the creation of committees on nuclear disarmament and on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS).
They reaffirmed their concerns on the proliferation of the means of delivery of WMD and determined to seek new ways to augment multilateral action to limit such proliferation. They supported efforts to promote an international code of conduct on missile activities open to all States and they welcomed work to strengthen the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
At the 18-24 July UN Conference on the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, the EU put forward proposals in key areas in pursuit of a politically binding program of action. These areas included export controls and criteria, marking and tracing, brokering, stockpile management, surplus and destruction, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, assistance for implementation of concrete measures, and follow-up.
On 25 July, legislation for establishing the EU Institute for Security Studies was issued, incorporating features of existing Western European Union structures.
On 27 July, the Council of Ministers issued a Common Position on the Fight Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
On 6 September, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on measures to promote a commitment by non-State actors to a total ban on anti-personal landmines.
2000: On 1 January, Greece joined the Euro zone.
On 2 March, the Political and Security Committee (COPS) was launched. Its aim is to equip the EU to respond effectively to international crises using all the tools at its disposal: diplomacy, economic measures, humanitarian assistance and, ultimately, the use of military force. The goals of these measures are to set the EU apart and allow it to play an international role consistent with its responsibilities and the expectations of its citizens.
Jaime Gama (State Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Portugal) delivered the EU statement at the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, on 24 April.
The EU “Common Position” noted its intention to help build consensus on substantive issues in the 2000 NPT Review Conference, taking into account the preparations in the three sessions of the Preparatory Committee and bearing in mind the fundamental importance of the decisions and resolution adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.
The EU strongly supported the early entry into force of the CTBT through ratification without delay and without conditions, in particular by the 44 States whose ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force. Members of the EU have already signed and ratified the Treaty, and the EU was actively involved in promoting universal adherence to it. The EU planned to continue its efforts until the mechanisms established by the Treaty become fully operational. It welcomed the announcement by the Russian Federation that the State Duma had approved the Treaty for ratification.
The EU particularly called upon those nuclear weapon States (NWS) that had not done so to expedite their CTBT ratification process so as to encourage others to follow.
The EU deeply regretted the U.S. failure to ratify the CTBT. The EU also underlined its full support for efforts to establish the Treaty’s verification regime in a timely and effective manner and emphasized the need for the provision of adequate financial support to enable the CTBT international monitoring system to be established.
The EU called for the immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations in the CD in Geneva on a FMCT. It supported the efforts being undertaken at the CD in Geneva to restart negotiations without delay on a non-discriminatory, multilateral, and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty, on the basis of the Shannon report and the mandate contained therein. The EU called on all States that had not yet done so to stop the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
The EU continued to encourage the determined pursuit by the NWS of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. The EU also wished to see non-strategic nuclear weapons included in the framework of arms reduction efforts. The EU reaffirmed the importance of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, as one of the pillars of strategic stability.
1999: On 1 January, the Euro became the official currency of eleven Member States of the European Union, with a fixed conversion rate into their national currencies. Euro notes and coins did not appear until 1 January 2002, but the new currency was approved for use by consumers, retailers, companies, and public authorities in non-cash form.
The European Council launched a decision on EU Joint Action on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament in Russia and other Newly Independent States (NIS). This agreement was to reinforce, coordinate, and improve public awareness of the EU in this field.
The Amsterdam Treaty entered into force on 1 May. It defines the beginnings of a CFSP by increasing EU responsibilities for peacekeeping and humanitarian work, and sets out institutional reforms to precede EU enlargement. It also elucidates the role of the Western European Union (WEU) as an integral part of the development of the EU and announces that the EU will foster closer institutional relations with the WEU with a view to possibly integrating it into the EU.
As a result of the Kosovo conflict, the Cologne European Council, which was held from 3-4 June, placed the Petersberg tasks (defined as the full range of conflict prevention and crisis management tasks) at the core of the European common security and defense policy.
On 10-11 December, the Helsinki European Council built on the guidelines of the Cologne Council and agreed to specific measures to apply to all Member States in the case of military operations. The presidential conclusions of this meeting stressed that the EU would contribute to international peace and security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter; the EU recognizes the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security; and the EU is determined to develop an autonomous capacity to make decisions and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to international crises. The process will avoid unnecessary duplication and does not imply the creation of a European army.
1998: On 17 December, the Council adopted a Joint Action on the EU’s contribution to combating the destabilizing accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons.
1997: On 26 June, the EU program for preventing and combating illicit trafficking in conventional arms was adopted by the General Affairs Council of the EU.
The Amsterdam Treaty was signed on 2 October.
1995: Full implementation of the Schengen Treaty began in July with the removal of internal border controls between six of the seven signatories.
1993: The single EU market was established.
The Maastricht Treaty entered into force on 1 November. Under this Treaty, the European Political Cooperation (EPC) was transformed into the “Common Foreign and Security Policy.” The objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) are to preserve peace and strengthen international security, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter as well as the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the objectives of the Paris Charter.
1987: The Single European Act entered into force.
1986: The Single European Act was passed. By this Act, each State agreed to the setting-up of a single market throughout the European Union by 1992. It also introduced a new legislative procedure, the cooperation procedure, and it created an initial legal framework for a common foreign policy among the Member States. The program involved the abolition of exchange controls, the recognition of qualifications, the abolition of restrictions on internal transport, liberalization of the market in air services, public procurement tendering, life insurance and banking services, and the abolition of frontier controls.
1985: The signing of the Schengen Agreement created an area of free circulation within the EU. The original signatories are Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Portugal, and Spain. Its purpose is to remove all controls at internal land, sea and airport frontiers. In order to maintain internal security, a variety of measures have been taken, including coordination of visa controls at the external borders of the Member States through a common approach to visa policies and asylum procedures.
1969: From 1969 until the 1993 entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty, the EPC conducted the coordination of foreign policy initiatives of the European Community Member States.
Point of Contact:
Commission of the European Communities
Rue de la Loi 200,
Tel: (32 2) 299 1111,
FAX: (32 2) 295 0138,
Telex: COMEU B 21877.
This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2015.
The EU aims to promote economic and social progress in Europe; to introduce European citizenship; and to develop an area of freedom, security, and justice, among other objectives.