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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.


Mr. President, 

1          I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement. 

2          We are pleased to support the Resolution on the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a report which again reaffirms the ‘indispensable role of the Agency with regard to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and in assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses, as well as in technology transfer and in nuclear verification, safety and security.  

Mr President, 

3          The EU remains committed to effective multilateral action against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and emphasizes the importance of universalizing the NPT. We call on States that have not done so to join the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon states. The EU welcomed the consensus reached on the Action Plan at the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The Action Plan, as well as the agreement on a process for the implementation of the 1995 NPT Resolution on the Middle East, including a Conference on a WMD free zone in the Middle East to be convened in 2012, demonstrated our common resolve not only to uphold, but also to strengthen, the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The EU commends in this respect the Facilitator, H.E. Mr. Jaakko Laajava, for the professional work and consultations carried out, as well as for his report on the preparation of the 2012 Conference on a WMD free zone in the Middle East presented during the NPT PrepCom meeting earlier this year in Vienna. 

4         The EU recalls the IAEA Forum held in November 2011 on this issue and also welcomes the Agency’s support for the implementation of the 1995 Resolution, including through the preparation of background documentation for the 2012 Conference regarding modalities for a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, as requested by the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan. In this regard, and with a view to contributing to these international efforts, the EU is pleased to reaffirm its own full support for a process leading to the establishment of a WMD free zone in the Middle East, as demonstrated by the recent adoption, on 23 July 2012, of a new EU Council Decision (2012/422/CFSP). As announced at this year’s NPT PrepCom, the EU is pleased to announce that a track 2 seminar by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium is taking place in Brussels today and tomorrow (5 – 6 November) and is expected to allow for an open exchange of views on all aspects related to the creation of a WMDFZ in the Middle East.           

5          The 2010 NPT Review Conference reaffirmed the role of the IAEA in verifying and assuring compliance by States with their safeguards obligations, with a view to preventing the diversion of nuclear material from peaceful uses. The EU remains deeply concerned by the protracted and serious challenges to the non-proliferation regime posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Syrian Arab Republic, concerns, reinforced by the recent reports of the Director General of the IAEA to the September Board of Governors. Once again, this Board felt it necessary to adopt a resolution on Iran, reaffirming the requirements of its 2011 Resolution, urging ‘Iran to comply fully and without delay with all its obligations under the relevant Resolutions of the UN Security Council, and to meet the requirements of the Board of Governors, including the application of modified Code 3.1 and the implementation and prompt entry into force of the Additional Protocol’. The EU fully supported the adoption of this resolution.  

6          The EU would like to stress again that the United Nations Security Council, as the final arbiter of international peace and security, has the mandate to take appropriate action in the event of non-compliance with NPT obligations, including safeguards agreements. 

7          The Agency’s system of safeguards is a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and plays an indispensable role in the implementation of the NPT. In this respect, the EU would like to express its satisfaction that the IAEA General Conference, adopted by an overwhelming majority the resolution on ‘Strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the safeguards system and the application of the Model Additional Protocol’. The EU is grateful for the wide support received by the IAEA Member States for what is traditionally an EU – sponsored resolution.  

8          The EU reiterates its view that the measures contained in the Model Additional Protocol form an integral part of the IAEA Safeguards system, and that Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements, together with Additional Protocols, constitute the current IAEA verification standard. The EU calls for universalization of these two essential instruments of the IAEA safeguards system without delay.  

Mr. President, 

9.         On nuclear safety, and particularly on the EU responses to the Fukushima Daichi nuclear accident, I would like to mention that the European Council on 25 March 2011 called for comprehensive risk and safety assessments (stress tests) to be conducted at European nuclear power plants. The seventeen national reports (fifteen EU countries, Switzerland and Ukraine) covering all nuclear power plants of the EU and of participating countries have been assessed by 80 reviewers from Europe. Many observers from third countries also took part in this unprecedented initiative. The Peer Review report was transmitted to the June 2012 European Council meeting and in July an action plan was agreed upon in order to follow the implementation of the recommendations of the Peer Review Report. As requested by the European Council in March 2011, the European Commission will now examine possible evolutions of the European legislation, notably the Nuclear Safety Directive, and submit them to Member States.   

10        The EU attaches the utmost importance to the implementation of the highest standards of nuclear safety worldwide. International cooperation is crucial for promoting the global nuclear safety framework. In this context, the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Conventions on Notification and Assistance, and the Joint Convention are instruments of major importance. The EU calls on all Member States, which have not yet done so, to become contracting parties to the relevant Safety Conventions without delay. The IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety is also an important instrument to be implemented by Member States and the Secretariat. 

Mr President, 

11        We face a new era of threats from non-state actors, particularly terrorists, who seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction and related technology and materials, as one of the potentially most destructive risks to global security. In the light of the ongoing threats, the EU is actively supporting UNSCR 1540 and UNSR 1887 as well as a number of other international initiatives such as the G8 Global Partnership, the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the Nuclear Security Summits and the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. The EU looks forward to the conference to be hosted by the Agency in July 2013, entitled “International Conference on Nuclear Security: enhancing Global Efforts” open to all States, and welcomes the role that international processes and initiatives can play in facilitating synergy and cooperation in the area of nuclear security. 

12        The EU supports IAEA activities in the areas of nuclear security in the framework of the implementation of the EU strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The EU, together with individual Member States, are among the main contributors to the Nuclear Security Fund, having provided around € 30 million to date. So far more than 50 countries have benefited from assistance funded through EU Joint Actions and Council Decisions, and this number continues to grow.  

13        Under the EU Instrument for Stability (IfS), nearly €260 million has been dedicated during the period 2007 – 2013 to CBRN risk mitigation worldwide. Out of this amount more than € 100 million has been allocated to the EU’s regional CBRN Centres of Excellence initiative. The objective of the CBRN CoE is to invest in the strengthening of the institutional capacity of stakeholders in partner countries to mitigate chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear risks, irrespective of their origin (proliferation/terrorism, accidents, natural events). At the same time the EU has stepped up its outreach and coordination efforts to key partners and international organisations: the UN Security Council welcomed the establishment of the CBRN CoE on 19 April 2012, a major Conference on the CBRN CoE was held at the UN in New York on 22 June, and EU services are about to finalise a broad understanding on coordination with the IAEA’s Office of Nuclear Security that will include regular work on a strategic and technical level on the radiological and nuclear aspects of the CBRN CoE initiative. 

14        Effective Physical Protection is of the utmost importance to prevent nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists or accidental misuse, and to protect nuclear facilities against unauthorised use and malicious acts. The EU therefore urges all States that have not yet done so, to become party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its 2005 amendment.   

Finally, Mr. President,  

15        The European Union uses several of its financial instruments to support both the IAEA, and cooperation with third countries, in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology with a total amount of some € 150 million per year. Concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the Agency has an important role in the areas of human health, food and agriculture, water resources, environment and nuclear energy, and nuclear and radiation safety in participating MS. Part of the EU funding through its financial instruments is implemented in third countries through the IAEA´s Technical Cooperation Fund to which the EU and its Member States are among the largest contributors. We also make substantial contributions to the Agency’s Peaceful Uses Initiative. On 4 May 2012, in the margins of the NPT PrepCom, the EU organised a side-event on the topic of peaceful uses, with the participation of the IAEA.  

I thank you, Mr President.

* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.

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