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The European Union and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons

01 January 2000
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In 1994-1995, one of the first joint actions by the European Union in the framework of the CFSP concerned the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. And it was successful: during the NPT Review Conference in April-May 1995, the member countries of the Union played an essential role in ensuring the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Five years later, on the eve of the new NPT Review Conference that is to take place in spring 2000, mobilisation of the European Union seems all the more necessary, since all of the issues connected with nuclear arms control and proliferation appear in a completely new light: the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests of 1998, the nuclear ambitions of Iraq and North Korea, Russia’s non-ratification of the START II accord, uncertainties over the ABM Treaty and, more recently, the refusal of the American Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) all contribute to bringing nuclear and non-proliferation questions back to the forefront of Western and European strategic concerns. Following the workshop on non-proliferation held at the Institute in 1999, this Chaillot Paper by Camille Grand – a former Institute visiting fellow and lecturer at the Institut d’Etudes politiques, Paris – gives an assessment of European policy on nuclear proliferation and suggests some avenues that the CFSP might follow, a few months before the opening of the five-yearly NPT Conference. It is therefore in particular intended to be a useful contribution to the European Union’s discussions and actions to promote the maintenance and if possible the consolidation of the universal nuclear non-proliferation regime.