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Strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

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Strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

The European Union (EU) strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) is an essential element of EU foreign policy. It aims to limit, and indeed eliminate, the development programmes for the proliferation of these weapons and the missiles which transport them.

ACT

EU strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction of 12 December 2003 (doc. 15708/03 - not published in the Official Journal).

SUMMARY

The proliferation of WMDs, particularly nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and their means of delivery (medium- and long-range missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)) is a growing threat on a global scale. It particularly increases the risk of these weapons being used by some States, or being acquired by terrorist groups.

Non-proliferation therefore constitutes a fundamental objective of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), in particular since the adoption of the EU strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

This strategy, of which the objective is to prevent, deter, halt and, if possible, eliminate proliferation programmes all over the world, has been updated several times by the Council. Nevertheless, the broad guidelines of the EU policy remain unchanged:

  • to reinforce the efficiency of multilateralism: the multilateral treaties system is the legal basis of all EU efforts concerning non-proliferation. Their universal application is an essential objective, as is the improvement of the mechanisms which verify the violations of the rules they lay down;
  • to promote a regionally and internationally stable environment: it particularly deals with the reinforcement of the programmes geared towards helping disarmament and mainstreaming the non-proliferation objective in all political, diplomatic and economic EU activities and programmes;
  • to work closely with key partners such as the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom or NATO, when it comes to countries or international organisations playing a major role in non-proliferation.

Numerous measures have been incorporated into the CFSP framework for the application of the action plan outlined in the strategy adopted in 2003. The External Relations Council organises a debate about the implementation of the EU strategy concerning WMDs every semester, and the reports assess its progress every six months.

RELATED ACTS

Council conclusions and new EU strands of action concerning the combat against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of transport, 17 December 2008 (doc. 17172/08 - not published in the Official Journal).

Council Decision 2008/974/CFSP of 18 December 2008 in support of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation in the framework of the implementation of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (OJ L 345, 23.12.2008).

Council Decision 2010/430/CFSP of 26 July 2010 establishing a European network of independent non-proliferation think tanks in support of the implementation of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (OJ L 202, 4.8.2010).

Council Decision 2012/423/CFSP of 23 July 2012 in support of ballistic missile non-proliferation in the framework of the implementation of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and of the Council Common Position 2003/805/CFSP (OJ L 196, 24.7.2012).

Council conclusions in relation to the pursuit of an efficient EU policy on the new challenges presented by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of transport, 21 October 2013 (doc. 15104/13 - not published in the Official Journal).

Council Decision 2013/668/CFSP of 18 November 2013 in support of World Health Organisation activities in the area of biosafety and biosecurity in the framework of the European Union Strategy against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (OJ L 310, 20.11.2013).

Semester report 2013/II on the progress of the works concerning the implementation of the EU strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (OJ C 54, 25.2.2014).

Council Decision 2014/129/CFSP of 10 March 2014 promoting the European network of independent non-proliferation think tanks in support of the implementation of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (OJ L 71, 12.3.2014).

Last updated: 30.05.2014

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