EU STRATEGY AGAINST THE PROLIFERATION
OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION (WMD)
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
The European Council adopted the following texts
on 15/16 December 2005.
Six Monthly Progress Report on the
implementation of Chapter III of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation
of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Updated List of Priorities for a
coherent implementation of the EU WMD Strategy
I am writing to submit the documents to your
committee for information in response to the Committee's request
in your letter of 18 November 2005.
The range of projects and initiatives detailed in the Progress
Report demonstrates that implementation of the EU WMD Strategy
remains a high priority for the Union. The revised list of priorities
take into account experiences gained from two years of implementation
and the new challenges that have arisen since then. As a consequence
of new factors and realities the EU will have to step up its efforts;
to do this it will have to look at the necessary financial and
human resources implications.
During the UK Presidency, the Government led
this review of both the WMD Strategy progress report and the priorities
for its implementation. We were fully involved in ensuring that
these priorities were indeed the most urgent and important and
worked with the Council Secretariat, Commission and other Member
States to guarantee this.
The overarching aim of our EU Presidency was
to improve the EU's contribution to multilateral counter-proliferation
work through continued implementation of the EU WMD Strategy.
Our general coordination of EU positions in numerous lobbying
campaigns and multilateral meetings such as the UNGA First Committee
was acknowledged to be strong and helped convey the EU's policies
clearly and positively. We made good progress on existing initiatives:
the EU agreed to renew Joint Actions in support of International
Atomic Energy Agency and Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical
Weapons efforts towards universalisation and full implementation
of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Chemical Weapons Covention.
We have also begun two major pieces of work on strengthening the
Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention which we expect to be
completed early in the Austrian Presidency: a new Joint Action
on universalisation of the BTWC and an EU Common Position for
the BTWC Review Conference. We have agreed a new Strategy to combat
illicit trafficking in SALW to complement the WMD Strategy. We
launched a debate on future financing of WMD work to focus discussion
on how best to channel limited EU resources for the period 2007-13.
We feel that this is a good paper, showing good
progress and development from the initial EU strategy. It also
reflects considerable UK input. I thought that you and your committee
would find much of interest in this report. I therefore attach
a copy of the report and revised list of priorities for your information
17 January 2006
Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Douglas
Thank you for your letter dated 17 January 2006
which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting on 2 February.
We welcome both the six monthly progress report
on the EU's WMD Strategy and the updated list of priorities for
its implementation, both of which we found extremely useful. We
were happy to note that many of the points made in these two reports
coincided with the recommendations contained in our earlier Report
on the Strategy: "Preventing Proliferation of Weapons of
Mass Destruction: The EU Contribution" (EUC, 13th Report
of 2004-2005, HL 96). However, we draw your attention to a few
areas of continuing concern.
The document notes (p. 3) that "The objective
of the EU to preserve the integrity of the NPT regime remains
valid, even more after the NPT Review Conference." Given
the failure of that conference, why are no concrete proposals
contained in the document as to how this might be achieved, even
though it is described as "an important priority" (p.
The non-proliferation budget decreased in 2005
as compared with 2004 due to the smaller range of priorities.
What is the exact amount of the 2006 budget and how will the EU
reprioritise if funds are insufficient to cover all those activities
noted in Annex B? We ask to be kept updated as to the ongoing
discussions on the budget and the impact this will have on the
funding of implementation of the Strategy.
The document also notes (p. 24) that "there
is a need to step up EU efforts. In order to ensure a focused
and coherent action the EU will also have to look into the financial
and human resources available to achieve this goal." Has
any consideration been given to increasing the resources available
for implementation of the Strategy, despite the reduced range
A draft paper covering the possible mission
and modalities of a WMD monitoring centre has been prepared by
the Office of the Personal Representative, Annelise Giannella,
with a view to circulation to Member States before the end of
2005 (p. 22). We request that a copy of this paper be deposited
since the absence of the planned centre was of particular concern
during the Sub-Committee's inquiry.
The document states (p. 23) that staff to staff
contacts between the EU and NATO have continued to take place.
Has there been any agreement on formal consultation and coordination
in relation to non-proliferation?
Finally, we take note that negotiations of a
political agreement with Iran containing a WMD clause have been
suspended and that Iran has been reported to the Security Council.
Do you believe that tighter international controls should be put
in place to prevent the spread of facilities for the enrichment
of uranium, and what further steps should the EU take in this
3 February 2006
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP
to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter of 3 February 2006
in reply to my submission to you of the six-monthly Progress Report
and updated List of Priorities for Implementation of the EU Strategy
Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. I am
writing to respond to the six areas you raised as being of continuing
The next formal opportunity to work directly
in an NPT context will be the First Preparatory Committee of the
new Review cycle. This will probably take place during April 2007
(the dates are not yet fixed). In the interim, it is important
that other aspects of the wider nuclear non-proliferation regime
receive attention. To name action being taken in just a few areas:
support for the IAEAthe EU
is currently discussing a new Joint Action in support of their
work on breaking the deadlock in
the Conference on Disarmament and beginning negotiations on an
Fissile Material Cut-off Treatydiscussions at EU level
continue in Geneva;
the Convention for the Physical Protection
of Nuclear Material where Member States are taking a lead in seeking
early ratification by their own Parliaments in order both to strengthen
the regime and to set an example when lobbying other states to
UNSCR 1540where the EU is
taking forward outreach on export controls
The amount spent through CFSP on non-proliferation
projects dropped in 2005 from 2004 not because of a smaller range
of priorities but because of other demands on the limited CFSP
budget, notably the mission to Aceh. As I discussed during my
evidence session with Sub-Committee C on 2 February, we were very
pleased to have secured a much-needed uplift in the total amount
available for CFSP. We very much hope that this additional money
will allow more to be spent on non-proliferation projects in 2006.
The List of Priorities for Implementation of the EU WMD Strategy
lists six projects as Absolute Priorities, with a total cost of
27.9 million euros. At this early stage in the year, I cannot
state categorically that all will be funded, given the inherent
unpredictability of crises which may require responses funded
from CFSP, but we very much hope that there will be sufficient
money available to fund at least the majority and are supporting
the Austrian Presidency in moving forward this agenda. The European
Council approved one of the projects in December under our Presidency,
the Political and Security Committee has recently agreed a second,
and the EU working groups on Global Disarmament (CODUN) and Non-proliferation
(CONOP) will consider three more over the next month. We will,
of course, submit these for scrutiny in the normal way.
As your letter rightly highlights, resources
are not simply a question of money. Human resources are also critical
to the successful implementation of the EU WMD Strategy. We would
like to see more such resources available for both the Commission
and the Secretariat. We were pleased that the Commission was able
to find quickly a successor to Marc Deffrennes, who left his post
in January this year after many years of excellent service to
the non-proliferation agenda. His successor, Vincent Metten, is
well-placed to continue Marc's work. However, as his appointment
is for one year only, we will continue to impress upon the Commission
the need to ensure sufficient human resources are in place, particularly
with the introduction of the Stability Instrument, which should
lead to increased Commission funding available for non-proliferation
On the Secretariat side, you refer to Dr Giannella's
proposals for an EU WMD Centre. A draft paper has not yet been
circulated to Member States, as hoped for in the List of Priorities,
though we have had informal consultations with Dr Giannella. We
understand that discussions continue between the Secretariat and
Commission and look forward to seeing a joint draft paper. I will
ensure that the Committee receives a copy, as I am aware of your
concerns. We continue to support the principle of such a centre,
but getting the detail right, particularly with the complicated
institutional issues involved, remains essential, and we are keen
to avoid duplication with other bodies.
One of these bodies is clearly NATO. Staff-to-staff
contacts are continuing, though there has not been any formal
consultation and co-ordination in relation to non-proliferation.
We are aware of the need to improve this, and remain seized of
the issue: we secured invitations for representatives of the NATO
WMD Centre to attend the Interparliamentary Conference to discuss
the results of the Commission- and UK-funded Pilot Project on
WMD and Small Arms and Light Weapons in December last year. We
are considering how to improve co-ordination further and will
keep the Committee informed of any significant developments.
You asked also whether tighter international
controls could be put in place to prevent the spread of facilities
for the enrichment of uranium. As you know, Art IV of the NPT
grants all Parties to the Treaty the inalienable right to develop
research, produce and use nuclear energy, provided they are in
compliance with Articles I, II and III of the Treaty.
Control over the spread of technology does exist
and all EU member states are active participants in the Nuclear
Suppliers' Group which continues to work on strict guidelines
both for the sale of goods and the spread of technology. Particularly
relevant to your question is the work currently underway in the
Nuclear Suppliers' Group designed to strengthen the guidelines
on the transfer of Enrichment (and Reprocessing) technology. There
would be little advantage to the EU undertaking a separate process
apart from this.
I hope these responses go some way to answering
your questions. In many of these areas work continues, and so
I have not been able to provide as definitive a set of answers
as I would otherwise wish. We will keep the Committee informed
of progress in these important areas.
27 February 2006
Letter from Kim Howells MP, Minister of
State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
The European Council adopted the following text
on 12-13 June 2006:
Six Monthly Progress Report on the implementation
of Chapter III of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of
Weapons of Mass Destruction
I am writing to submit this document to your
committee for information in response to your request of 18 November
to Douglas Alexander. This Progress Report is not accompanied
by an updated "List of priorities for the implementation
of the EU WMD Strategy" because the priorities endorsed by
the Council in December 2005 are still valid.
It is worth noting that the Progress Report
is shorter than previous versions as it now concentrates on main
developments and trends rather than containing an exhaustive repetition
of all the items that are mentioned in the Strategy. However,
the range of projects and initiatives detailed demonstrates that
implementation of the EU WMD Strategy remains a high priority
for the Union.
You may note from the Progress Report that a
draft note has been circulated to Member States about the agreed
EU WMD Centre. I know this topic is of interest to your committee.
Discussions are still in their very early stages and we await
a more substantive and detailed document on the modalities of
such a Centre. I will keep you informed of progress.
The report highlights recent Council Joint Actions
in support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), Organisation for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) activities, United Nations Security
Council Resolution 1540 and the Biological & Toxin Weapons
The report also calls attention to the EU Common
Position for the BTWC Review Conference which was adopted by the
Council on 20 March 2006, whose purpose is to strengthen the BTWC
and to promote the successful outcome of the Sixth Review Conference.
We feel that this is a good paper, showing useful
progress and development over the reporting period. I thought
that you and your committee would find much of interest in this
report. I enclose a copy (not printed).
11 July 2006
61 Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session
2005-06, HL Paper 243, pp259-260. Back