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Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons ─ The 'Ban Treaty'

20-01-2021

On 22 January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the TPNW) enters into force. On that day, nuclear weapons development, testing, production, possession, stockpiling, use and threat of use, as well as the stationing or deployment of another country's nuclear weapons on a state party's national territory will become prohibited under international law. The TPNW has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative, which has gained ground in recent years, to rid the world of ...

On 22 January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the TPNW) enters into force. On that day, nuclear weapons development, testing, production, possession, stockpiling, use and threat of use, as well as the stationing or deployment of another country's nuclear weapons on a state party's national territory will become prohibited under international law. The TPNW has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative, which has gained ground in recent years, to rid the world of the most destructive weapon known to humankind. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which spearheaded these efforts, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Supporters hope that the TPNW will strengthen the international legal framework and gradually advance the political norm against nuclear weapons possession and use. Opponents of the Treaty argue that the conditions for disarmament do not currently exist and that promoters of the TPNW fail to recognise this. They also point to the danger of undermining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), recognised as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime, including by proponents of the TPNW. The nine states known to have military nuclear programmes have not signed the TPMW. Nor have Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which in 2016 re-confirmed its commitment to nuclear deterrence. This raises doubts about the impact of this new instrument and its ability to create normative values. Most EU Member States, 21 of which are members of NATO, oppose the TPNW, and only three have ratified it. The European Parliament has noted that the TPNW provided evidence of the desire to achieve the objective of a nuclear weapons-free world. This is an updated version of an earlier briefing, from January 2018.

North Korea’s nuclear summitry [What Think Tanks are thinking]

04-06-2018

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 ...

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 attribute to the word 'denuclearisation'. Pyongyang, after years of isolation, is engaged in an unprecedented series of high-level meetings with South Korea, China and Russia. This note offers links to reports and commentaries from some major international think-tanks and research institutes on the North Korean nuclear programme. More reports on the topic can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking’, published in September 2017. Credit photo: © jpldesigns / Fotolia

Future of the Iran nuclear deal: How much can US pressure isolate Iran?

25-05-2018

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 ...

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 2016. On that day, known as Implementation Day, all nuclear-related UN, US and EU sanctions on Iran were lifted. President Trump, who took office in January 2017, has consistently called the JCPOA 'a terrible deal'. In January 2018, he announced that the US would cease implementing the JCPOA in May 2018 unless Congress and US allies successfully addressed what he called the agreement's 'disastrous flaws'. During the short period given by President Trump, the US worked with EU allies on a 'supplemental agreement', to address the perceived weaknesses of the JCPOA. However, sufficient common ground could not be reached and on 8 May, President Trump announced that the US was leaving the nuclear deal with Iran and would (re)-impose sanctions. These block American firms from doing business in Iran, and bar foreign firms that do business with Iran from accessing the entire US banking and financial system. In addition, companies that violate the sanctions risk huge fines. The E3/EU have repeatedly stressed their support for the continued full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by all sides, pointing to the fact that it imposes very tough nuclear inspections and that the IAEA has confirmed 10 times that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the agreement. Russia and China have likewise expressed their unwavering support for the agreement. Iran has given the EU 60 days to ensure the continued implementation of the JCPOA, in particular its trade and economic aspects. The US has threatened to impose sanctions on European companies that continue to do business in Iran, but also signalled willingness to continue working on a 'supplemental agreement'.

United States' nuclear weapons policy: New priorities, new challenges

08-12-2017

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 ...

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 took office in January 2017 with the promise to discontinue the previous administration's policy priorities. This is reflected in the current realignment of the US nuclear weapons policy. The new administration aims to expand US nuclear capabilities, is sceptical of international arms-control agreements, and has a more determinant stance on non-proliferation. President Trump has criticised the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and consequently decertified the multilateral Iran nuclear deal in October 2017. The President has also characterised the bilateral New START Treaty, limiting the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons between the US and Russia, as 'a one-sided deal'. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), a landmark nuclear arms control treaty between the US and the former USSR, seems to be in limbo, and nuclear proliferation efforts in North Korea have sparked a war of words between Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. The ongoing Nuclear Posture Review, together with the coming passage of the annual defence policy bill in Congress, the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2018, have the potential to provoke shifts in US nuclear policy.

Western Balkans: Parliamentary oversight of the security sector

02-05-2017

Both the European Union and NATO have sought to promote democratic security sector governance as one of the criteria for their respective accession candidates. Consequently, the Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia), Montenegro and Serbia – have begun security sector reforms as part of their Euro-Atlantic integration. The overall objective of these reforms is to support the transformation of the security ...

Both the European Union and NATO have sought to promote democratic security sector governance as one of the criteria for their respective accession candidates. Consequently, the Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia), Montenegro and Serbia – have begun security sector reforms as part of their Euro-Atlantic integration. The overall objective of these reforms is to support the transformation of the security sector in accordance with democratic norms and the principles of good governance, rule of law, protection of human rights and efficient use of public resources. In this context, a special focus is placed on improving governance through greater civilian and parliamentary oversight of security processes. Since the 1990s, Western Balkan countries have all, in the push to reform their security sectors, made significant progress in terms of setting up the necessary legal framework and oversight mechanisms, including parliamentary committees. However, when it comes to aligning their security sectors with the principles of democratic governance, they have had varying success.

A Nuclear Ban Treaty: Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations

13-01-2017

On 23 December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, thus paving the way for a conference in 2017 to ‘negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination’. The adoption of the resolution has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative that has gained ground in the last few years to rid the world of the most destructive weapon known to humankind ...

On 23 December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, thus paving the way for a conference in 2017 to ‘negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination’. The adoption of the resolution has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative that has gained ground in the last few years to rid the world of the most destructive weapon known to humankind. Opponents of a ‘ban treaty’ argue that the deterrence provided by nuclear weapons is essential to maintain the existing global order, and the official nuclear-weapon states have mostly indicated that they will not participate in the conference. The majority of United Nations member states voted in favour of the resolution, but five nuclear-armed states and all but four NATO members voted against it. EU Member States, most of which are members of NATO, have taken different positions on the prospect of a nuclear weapons ban, with some supporting it, but most against. The European Parliament welcomed the convening of a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, noting that this would reinforce the non-proliferation and disarmament objectives and obligations contained in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and help to create the conditions for global security and a world without nuclear weapons. In a resolution adopted on 27 October 2016, the European Parliament invited the EU Member States to support the convening of such a conference in 2017 and ‘to participate constructively in its proceedings’.

EU-Led Security Sector Reform and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Cases: Challenges, Lessons Learnt and Ways Forward

14-07-2016

Although the EU has become a leading multilateral actor in the field of security sector reform (SSR), it continues to face significant challenges that hinder its potential for delivery. In the run-up to the prospective adoption of an EU-wide strategic framework for supporting SSR, this study aims to shed light on the realities faced by SSR policy makers and practitioners. By looking at the EU’s SSR track record, as well its involvement in the complementary process of disarmament, demobilisation and ...

Although the EU has become a leading multilateral actor in the field of security sector reform (SSR), it continues to face significant challenges that hinder its potential for delivery. In the run-up to the prospective adoption of an EU-wide strategic framework for supporting SSR, this study aims to shed light on the realities faced by SSR policy makers and practitioners. By looking at the EU’s SSR track record, as well its involvement in the complementary process of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), this study provides an assessment of the lessons learnt and highlights the ways forward for the EU as a security provider, particularly ahead of the launch of its maiden Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS).

Zunanji avtor

Samir BATTIS, José LUENGO-CABRERA and Pol MORILLAS

Russia: Arms control and non-proliferation

22-06-2015

Arms control and non-proliferation agreements are an important part of Europe's post-Cold War security order, now looking increasingly fragile due to the Ukraine crisis. Numerous concerns have been raised about Russia's commitments on weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms.

Arms control and non-proliferation agreements are an important part of Europe's post-Cold War security order, now looking increasingly fragile due to the Ukraine crisis. Numerous concerns have been raised about Russia's commitments on weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms.

The second EU–CELAC Summit

10-06-2015

The second EU–CELAC Summit (eighth EU-LAC Summit) will be held in Brussels on 10 and 11 June under the theme 'Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens'. As the main mechanism of bi-regional cooperation between the EU and the region, it will seek to reinvigorate the commitment to multilateral cooperation, building on the agenda established in Santiago in 2013 and taking into account developments in both regions since then.

The second EU–CELAC Summit (eighth EU-LAC Summit) will be held in Brussels on 10 and 11 June under the theme 'Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens'. As the main mechanism of bi-regional cooperation between the EU and the region, it will seek to reinvigorate the commitment to multilateral cooperation, building on the agenda established in Santiago in 2013 and taking into account developments in both regions since then.

EU Actions and Policy in regard to Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Disarmament

31-01-2005

The study outlines the current state of the EU's strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and examines how best the EU can contribute to the review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty planned for May 2005.

The study outlines the current state of the EU's strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and examines how best the EU can contribute to the review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty planned for May 2005.

Zunanji avtor

Dr Gerard QUILLE International Security Information Service

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