AFET adopts recommendation on EU stance on a key nuclear arms control regime
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AFET adopts recommendation on EU stance on a key nuclear arms control regime

MEPs call for effective multilateralism and rules-based international order in the run-up to the 2020 Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty review process.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) adopted on Wednesday a recommendation to the Council and the EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell on what stance to take on preparing the 2020 Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) review process, nuclear arms control and nuclear disarmament options.

Rules-based international order

In a report adopted with 61 votes for, 1 against and 5 abstentions, AFET MEPs recommend that the Council and the EU foreign policy chief should reaffirm the EU’s and member states’ full support to the NPT and its three mutually reinforcing pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy They should also reiterate that effective multilateralism and rules-based international order are a pre-condition for countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons, say MEPs

They warn that exacerbating the situations in which nuclear weapons could be used could seriously jeopardise global strategic stability, urging the state parties to the NPT to ensure that the trend of reducing nuclear arsenal, since the number of nuclear weapons peaked in 1986, is not reversed.

Call to US, Russia, Iran and North Korea

With the collapse of the INF treaty last summer in mind, MEPs recommend that EU representatives call on the US and Russia to resume a dialogue and find a way to put in place a new legally binding instrument for short- and medium-range missiles.They should also stress that a clear commitment from Russia and the US to extend the new START Treaty before it expires in February 2021 would contribute significantly to the NPT review conference.

MEPs also recommend that the EU’s continuing commitment to the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) should be reaffirmed as the best possible means for obtaining assurances of an exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy by Iran. However, MEPs also point out that the EU regrets that Iran stopped limiting its production of enriched uranium, which led to all European signatories to the JCPOA triggering a dispute mechanism. Regarding North Korea, MEPs recommend urging the country to abandon its nuclear weapons programme and return to the NPT and IAEA safeguards. They also recall that the DPRK continues to represent a regional and international nuclear and ballistic threat.

Rapporteur Sven Mikser (S&D, ET) said: The European Union needs to continue to work hard to make the upcoming NPT Review Conference a success. For half a century, the NPT has provided a crucial framework to reduce the nuclear threat, and it continues to be the best instrument available to the international community to pursue a path towards a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Background

In force since 1970, the NPT is a multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons. According to the Treaty, the non-nuclear power states have committed themselves not to acquire nuclear weapons and the states with nuclear powers are obliged to pursue disarmament. All of them can access nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, under certain safeguards. The UN reviews NPT every five years and the next one is due at the conference in April/May.

191 states are parties to the NPT. Iran ratified it in 1970, but since 2005 has been under international pressure for not providing relevant information on its nuclear programme. North Korea ratified the NPT in 1985. In January 2003, it unilaterally withdrew and has conducted so far six increasingly sophisticated nuclear tests.