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Thursday, 14 February 2019 - Strasbourg
The future of the INF Treaty and the impact on the EU

European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the future of the INF Treaty and the impact on the European Union (2019/2574(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (hereinafter the ‘INF Treaty’) signed in Washington on 8 December 1987 by the then US President, Ronald Reagan, and the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbatchev(1),

–  having regard to the 2018 Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments prepared by the US Department of State,

–  having regard to the statement of 21 October 2018 by US President Donald Trump warning of the withdrawal of the US from the INF Treaty,

–  having regard to the statement of 2 February 2019 by the US Secretary of State on US intent to withdraw from the INF Treaty(2),

–  having regard to the statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin of 2 February 2019 stating that Russia would also suspend its participation in the treaty,

–  having regard to the statement on the INF Treaty issued by NATO Foreign Ministers on 4 December 2018(3),

–  having regard to the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy – Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe,

–   having regard to concerns raised in 2019 by the US and NATO regarding Russia’s failure to comply with the INF Treaty, in particular as regard its new 9M729 missile system, most recently in the statement of 1 February 2019 issued by the North Atlantic Council(4),

–  having regard to the remarks by Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Federica Mogherini at the seventh EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference, held in Brussels on 18 and 19 December 2018,

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 October 2016 on nuclear security and non-proliferation(5),

–  having regard to the joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation signed in Brussels on 10 July 2018,

–  having regard to the UN Agenda for Disarmament(6),

–  having regard to UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development(7),

–  having regard to the 2017 annual progress report on the implementation of the European Union strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction of 18 May 2018,

–  having regard to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with its obligations on all states to pursue nuclear disarmament in good faith and to cease the nuclear arms race,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted on 7 July 2017 by the UN General Assembly,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2010 on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(8),

–  having regard to the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Ninth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (8079/15),

–  having regard to the Nobel Peace Prize 2017 awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and to its statement of 1 February 2019 entitled ‘US withdrawal from INF Treaty puts Europe (and the world) at risk’,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the INF Treaty, signed in 1987 by the United States and the Soviet Union, was a unique agreement of the Cold War era, as it required both countries to destroy their stockpiles of, rather than set limits on, ground-launched nuclear and conventionally armed ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5 500 km, while prohibiting parties from possessing, producing and flight-testing these missiles;

B.  whereas, by May 1991, 2 692 missiles had been eliminated in accordance with the terms of the Treaty; whereas 10 years of on-site inspections then followed; whereas more than 3 000 missiles containing nuclear warheads were ultimately removed thanks to the INF Treaty;

C.  whereas the INF Treaty contributed to containing strategic competition between the US and the Soviet Union, and subsequently the Russian Federation, and to building and reinforcing stability in the Cold War era; whereas Europe has been the principal beneficiary of the INF Treaty, which has been fundamental in upholding its security for more than three decades; whereas the Treaty is still a pillar of international peace and stability, in particular as part of the European security architecture;

D.  whereas in 2014 the Obama administration stated that Russia was ‘in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5 500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles’; whereas subsequent reports, published by the US Department of State in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, reiterated US allegations of Russia’s continued violation of the Treaty;

E.  whereas the US and NATO have repeatedly questioned Russia about its missile development activities, in particular as regards the 9M729 missile system, which they consider to be in breach of the INF Treaty;

F.  whereas in December 2017, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the treaty, President Trump’s administration announced an ‘integrated strategy’ of diplomatic, military and economic measures, aimed at bringing Russia back into compliance; whereas these measures included diplomatic efforts through the Special Verification Commission, the launch of a military research and development programme, and economic measures against Russian entities involved in developing and producing the non-compliant missile;

G.  whereas the US and Russia have failed to address their mutual concerns by means of diplomatic dialogue; whereas the Special Verification Commission established under the Treaty to address, among other things, compliance concerns, has not been convened;

H.  whereas on 20 October 2018 President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Treaty, citing Russia’s non-compliance and China’s non-participation; whereas on 4 December 2018, after the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the US had found Russia in material breach of the Treaty and would suspend its obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russia returned to full and verifiable compliance;

I.  whereas on 1 February 2019 the US announced, after the 60-day deadline given for Russia to return to full compliance, that it would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from it unless Russia, which the US believes to be in material breach of the Treaty, returned to compliance with its terms within six months; whereas NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on Russia to take advantage of the six-month period offered by the US to return to full compliance;

J.  whereas on 4 December 2018 NATO Foreign Ministers released a statement acknowledging Russia’s violations of the INF Treaty and calling on Russia to return as a matter of urgency to full and verifiable compliance with the Treaty;

K.  whereas on 2 February 2019 Russia announced that it would suspend the INF Treaty and develop new types of missiles; whereas the Russian authorities have repeatedly raised concerns about NATO missile defence installations;

L.  whereas China, along with other non-signatories to the INF Treaty, has conducted a widespread proliferation of its missile arsenal, demonstrating the need for a new treaty which binds the US, Russia and China;

M.  whereas a potential end to the Treaty could lead to an escalation of tensions among nuclear states, to misunderstandings and to a new arms race;

N.  whereas the INF Treaty is a cornerstone for maintaining global strategic stability, world peace and regional security; whereas preservation of the Treaty would contribute to efforts to preserve other existing arms control and disarmament agreements, as well as creating more favourable conditions for negotiations on arms limitations, disarmament and non-proliferation; whereas the withdrawal announcements are calling into question the likelihood of the non-extension of other major arms control treaties, such as the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (‘New START’), which would seriously damage the international arms control regime, which has provided decades of stability regarding nuclear weapons, leaving the world with no legally binding, verifiable limits on nuclear arsenals;

O.  whereas the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signature by the UN Secretary-General on 20 September 2017 and has to date been signed by 70 states, of which 21 have become States Parties through ratification of accession, amongst them EU Member State Austria, with Ireland likely to deliver its instruments of ratification to the UN Secretary-General within the next few months;

P.  whereas Nobel Peace Prize laureate ICAN has called on all states to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;

1.  Supports compliance with, and the continuation and strengthening of, the INF Treaty; recalls its vital contribution to peace and security in Europe and the rest of the world and to global disarmament and non-proliferation;

2.  Expresses deep concern at the breaches of the Treaty, and the subsequent announcements by the US and then Russia regarding the suspension of their obligations under it and their withdrawal from it within a period of six months; underlines that these developments pose a threat to one of Europe’s most vital security interests, as well as to European and global security and peace; fears that these actions might result in miscalculations and misperceptions leading to a deterioration of relations between the US and Russia, an escalation of tensions, heightened nuclear and military threats and risks, and a possible return of destabilising arms races, which would be detrimental to Europe’s security and strategic stability;

3.  Expresses condemnation of Russia for continuing to breach the terms of the Treaty;

4.  Calls on the Russian Federation to return to full and verifiable compliance, in order to address the concerns raised by the US and by NATO, in response to Russia’s continuing breach of the terms of the Treaty, and urges Russia’s commitment to the long-term future of the agreement;

5.  Recognises the importance of full transparency and dialogue in the interests of building trust and confidence in the implementation of the INF Treaty and any other agreements that support strategic stability and security; in light of the above, calls on both Russia and the US to resolve the respective compliance allegations, to engage in a constructive dialogue under the auspices of the UN Security Council, the Special Verification Commission or other appropriate forums, with the aim of reducing tensions, taking into account both parties’ interests and concerns and pursuing negotiations in good faith to safeguard the INF Treaty before the effective withdrawal in August 2019, enhancing transparency and mutual monitoring and achieving stronger rules and guarantees as regards their respective missile and nuclear capabilities;

6.  Urges the VP/HR to use the six-month window to use all political and diplomatic means at her disposal to engage in dialogue with the INF States Parties in order to restore cross-border trust, while offering the EU’s mediation expertise and experience with a view to preventing the withdrawal of both the US and Russia; urges the VP/HR to push for the preservation and development of the INF Treaty and to initiate negotiations for a multilateral treaty for this category of missiles; asks the VP/HR to ensure that the EU acts as a proactive and credible security provider, including for its neighbourhood, and that it plays a strong and constructive role in developing and reinforcing the global rules-based non-proliferation efforts and arms control and disarmament architecture;

7.  Emphasises that the uncertain future of the INF Treaty should not put other arms control agreements in jeopardy; notably urges the US and Russia to extend the New START agreement, which limits the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1 550, before it expires in 2021;

8.  Reiterates its full commitment to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regimes as a cornerstone of global and European security; is of the opinion that Europe must lead by example in order to be credible and to advance a nuclear-free free world; calls on the EU Member States to make multilateral nuclear disarmament an EU foreign and security policy priority; recalls its commitment to pursuing policies designed to move forward with the reduction and elimination of all nuclear arsenals;

9.  Believes that European security should remain indivisible; calls on all EU Member States which are also NATO members to act accordingly; calls on the VP/HR to develop a common threat assessment analysing the implications for the EU’s security should the protection that the INF Treaty provides to the Union and its citizens cease to apply and report back to Parliament in time, in accordance with Article 36 of the Treaty on European Union, and to develop thereafter a credible and ambitious nuclear disarmament strategy based on effective multilateralism;

10.  Calls on the VP/HR to bring forward proposals to mobilise EU funds and strengthen the Union’s knowledge base and expertise regarding non-proliferation, arms control and human capacities to analyse threats emanating from nuclear weapons; calls on the VP/HR to present prudent plans for how to prevent unintended or accidental use of nuclear weapons;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, NATO, the United Nations, the President and Members of Congress of the United States, the President of the Russian Federation and the Members of the Russian State Duma and Federation Council.

(5) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 202.
(8) OJ C 349 E, 22.12.2010, p. 77.

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