EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2016
Introduction and Keynote Address
Jacek Bylica, Principal Adviser and Special Envoy for Non-proliferation and Disarmament, EEAS

Provisional transcript

Jacek Bylica, Principal Adviser and Special Envoy for Non-proliferation and Disarmament, EEAS

Yes. Good morning, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. For those I have not yet had the privilege of meeting in person, my name is Jacek Bylica and I am the Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation at the European External Action Service, based here in Brussels. And this is the fifth EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference, supported by the European Union and organised by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium of think tanks, represented here on stage by Mark Fitzpatrick.

The European Union has a rich history of supporting disarmament and non-proliferation of both conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. In recent years, thousands of tonnes of anti-personnel mines, small arms and light weapons, chemical weapons and other deadly tools of war have been destroyed, thanks to the funds provided by the EU. Thousands of experts around the world have been trained thanks to our capacity-building efforts. Hundreds of diplomatic démarches have been delivered by the EU to promote the universalisation and effective implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and conventions. Tens of millions of euros have been provided to the international organisations supporting these treaties.

Strongly supporting civil society’s involvement and NGOs working in this field, the EU established in 2010 the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium. It connects together and supports a number of independent think tanks across Europe working on a broad range of topics related to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms-export control.

You are participating in the consortium’s largest annual event, with circa 300 participants coming from over 60 countries and organisations. But it is also good to be aware of the Consortium’s numerous other activities. They include smaller topical seminars on current issues, most recently for example on the DPRK, organised in Seoul, it involves an internship programme or specialised publications, which are available online at www.non-proliferation.eu.

All these political, diplomatic, financial, academic and technical efforts are guided by our strategic documents, approved by all EU member states. For example, in 2003, the EU adopted a strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and in 2004, a strategy to combat illicit accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition.

The new EU global strategy, unveiled earlier this year in June, confirmed that, and I quote, ‘The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems remains a growing threat to Europe and the wider world. The EU will strongly support the expanding membership, universalisation, full implementation and enforcement of multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control treaties and regimes. We will use every means at our disposal to assist in resolving proliferation crises as we successfully did on the Iranian nuclear programme. The EU will actively participate in export control regimes, strengthening common rules governing member states’ export policies of military, including dual use equipment and technologies, and support export control authorities in third countries and technical bodies that sustain arms control regimes.’

In our disarmament and non-proliferation activities, we also enjoy support from the European Parliament, which, for example, just last month passed a new resolution on nuclear issues, to which we will have an opportunity to refer in more detail in the next session. We are also very proud and honoured to work under the leadership of the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, who herself has a very rich background in disarmament and non-proliferation issues, and takes a strong interest in them.

Federica Mogherini, even in her previous parliamentarian and ministerial positions, participated in the work of the European Leadership Network for multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the ELN; the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, PNND; as well as the Group of Eminent Persons in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, the CTBTO-GEM.

Unfortunately, due to numerous other duties she could not be with us today; but before leaving for, I believe, Latin America, the High Representative recorded a video message to the participants of this conference, and I hope that, thanks to the marvels of, well, twentieth-century technology, we will be able to see it right now. 

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