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Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity. Russia's threat to use nuclear weapons in the context of its war on Ukraine has been a stark reminder that this threat is real. At present, nine states are known to have military nuclear programmes. Over recent years, tensions among nuclear-armed states have increased, leading to 'outright strategic rivalry and competition' among several of them. Moreover, experts are concerned that the 'fabric of international institutions, treaties, and norms ...

Looking back on the implosion of the Soviet Union in late 1991, this Briefing reflects on the debate in the Parliament about its possible consequences at the time. It shows that a clear majority of MEPs initially remained keen on the transformation of the Soviet Union into some kind of 'new Union'. They were concerned both about the dire economic situation in several Soviet republics, and about the maintenance of effective control over the Soviet Union's huge nuclear arsenal. Since 1988 the EP, like ...

From 21 to 23 June 2022, the 61 States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will meet for the first time. Russia's threat to use nuclear weapons in the context of its war on Ukraine has given new relevance – and some will argue urgency – to the initiative launched a decade ago to prohibit nuclear weapons. The TPNW entered into force on 22 January 2021. On that day, nuclear weapons development, testing, production, possession, stockpiling, use and threat of use, as well ...

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a tool of power politics, and an element of state diplomacy. The European Union, however, approaches AI primarily from an economic, social, and regulatory angle. This paper discusses the way that AI impacts the European Union’s geopolitical power, and its relationship with other countries. It presents possible scenarios for how AI may change the international balance of power and recommends ways for the EU and its members to respond.

The US and Russia both have formidable arsenals of potentially destructive nuclear weapons. Although a nuclear-free world remains a distant dream, the two countries have taken steps to limit the risk of nuclear conflict, through a series of arms control agreements limiting the number of strategic weapons that each can have. In force since 2011, the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START) is the latest of these agreements. Under New START, Russia and the US are limited to an equal number ...

US President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a historic summit in Singapore on 12 June 2018. They reached a short agreement that emphasised the North's commitment to 'work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula', but provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up nuclear weapons or how that might be verified. Following the summit, the United States announced it had agreed with South Korea to suspend all planning on joint military exercises. This note offers ...

The US President, Donald Trump, and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, are preparing for a high-stakes summit on the latter country’s nuclear programme, following Trump’s decision on 1 June to revive the meeting after having cancelled it the previous week. At the summit, due to take place on 12 June in Singapore, Trump is expected to press for denuclearisation of North Korea in exchange for easing economic sanctions and, possibly some aid. The main sticking point lies on the meaning the two countries ...

In July 2015, Iran and the E3/EU+3 – France, Germany, the UK and the EU plus China, Russia and the USA – signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a landmark agreement to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for the termination of restrictive measures against Iran. Following certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had complied with its nuclear dismantlement commitments, implementation of the JCPOA commenced on 16 January ...

Following fears in 2017 of an escalation of the North Korean crisis, an unexpected detente has come in early 2018. North Korean athletes took part in the Winter Olympics in South Korea, and Pyongyang undertook a charm offensive followed by a successful historic inter-Korean summit in late April, which may prompt long-awaited peace talks. A summit between US President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong un had been scheduled for 12 June in Singapore, but Trump called it off on 24 May. The main ...

The United States is the world's second largest nuclear power, coming close behind Russia. Together the two states account for 93 % of the world's nuclear weapons. Since the end of the Cold War, the US has followed a policy of reducing its nuclear arsenal, while maintaining a nuclear triad. Under President Obama, it embarked on an intense nuclear modernisation programme, while making commitments towards nuclear non-proliferation and – as a long-term goal – nuclear disarmament. President Donald Trump ...