Info Article: The EU Instruments to Deter the Use and Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

Given the recent developments in foreign policy, we have become more aware of the threat of nuclear weapons and their (mis)use in conflict resolution. The EU, in its role as a global actor for peace and security, can play a role in minimising the danger of a nuclear conflict in certain regions of the world. Not only it is in its values to do so, but there are practical reasons for taking a though stance on the issue: in case of a war in other regions of the world, for example between India and Pakistan, the EU would surely be impacted by the economic fallout and most likely have to face a refugee crisis.

In light of this rationale, the EU has already established a number of instruments which can be used to deter the use and spread of nuclear weapons. Here below we present you the main three instruments that help in its quest to maintain global peace and security:

The European Union has confirmed on various occasions a strong commitment and support to treaties on the non-proliferation and disarmament of nuclear weapons. The standing policy is to ensure that signatories respect their commitments, as well as to enlarge the group of signatories.

During the 2017 Carnegie Nuclear Policy Conference, the High Representative/Vice-President of the EC Federica Mogherini said, “the security of our citizens today can only be achieved through non-proliferation and disarmament. It is a matter of security. A new arms race is not the solution to any of the security challenges or threats we face.”

The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (‘ICSP’) is an EU financial instrument that provides funding for short and mid-term actions on conflict prevention, crisis response and peace-building around the world, as well as long-term support for projects related to global and trans-regional threats.

The EU can also resort to trade restrictions as a dissuasive action to prevent conflicts with a high risk of involvement of nuclear weapons. However, it is noted that trade measures have proved to be less efficient at compelling countries to give up on their nuclear weapons.

We recommend to make a more committed and wider use of these instruments as it is of paramount importance to maintain international peace and security, particularly so when nuclear arms are involved. This is why we applaud the Norwegian Nobel Committee to recognize the importance of the issue by awarding the Nobel Peace prize for 2017 to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

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