Delegation of the European Union

to the International Organisations in Vienna

EU Statement on the occasion of 19th Annual Regular Meeting of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) in Vienna, 12 October 2020

Vienna, 12/10/2020 - 15:29, UNIQUE ID: 201012_17
Statements on behalf of the EU

EU Statement on the occasion of the 19th Annual Regular Meeting of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC)

Vienna, 12 October 2020



I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey°, the Republic of North Macedonia* Montenegro*, Iceland+ Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, the Republic of Moldova and San Marino.


Let me first of all express our gratitude to Norway for all the work and efforts undertaken during its HCoC chairmanship. We also congratulate Switzerland on assuming the chairmanship for 2020 to 2021 and actively promoting the full implementation of the Code and its universalisation in all regions of the world.


The EU and its Member States would also like to thank Austria for its efficient support to the Code as the Immediate Central Contact (ICC) in Vienna.


The HCoC is the only multilateral instrument aiming at both preventing ballistic missile proliferation and increasing transparency for the benefit of the Subscribers. The EU and its Member States reaffirm their strong support for the HCoC by actively promoting the universalisation, full implementation and efficient functioning of the Code. This will help build confidence, encourage restraint and create more peace and security for all. 


We welcome the recent decisions of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Equatorial Guinea, and Somalia to subscribe to the Code and call on all countries, in particular those with significant activities in the area of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles, to follow suit. We emphasise the importance of further efforts by all Subscribing States towards the full implementation of the Code, especially by timely and regular exchange of pre-launch notifications on ballistic missile and space launch vehicle launches and test flights. We are supportive of examining further multilateral steps to prevent the threat of missile proliferation and to promote disarmament efforts in the missile field.


Bearing in mind the ongoing UN General Assembly session, we would like to encourage all UN Member States to support and vote in favour of the HCoC Resolution that has been tabled in the First Committee in order to gain even further support than the previous positive record of 171 votes in 2018


Since 2008, the EU has continued to provide significant political and financial support for the Code, a number of outreach events and meetings having taken place in cooperation with the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique and the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). In the framework of the last EU Council’s Decision, we have also accomplished three expert missions and published a number of papers related to the Code.



The EU and its Member States remain gravely concerned by the continued proliferation of delivery systems related to weapons of mass destruction, in particular the pursuit by several countries of concern of ballistic missile programmes. We call for the immediate dismantlement of such programmes, which are a source of mistrust and contribute to regional instability.


The repeated ballistic missile launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) represent a grave threat to regional and international peace and security and violate multiple UN Security Council Resolutions. We urge the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner as well as its delivery systems programme and to fully comply with all its international obligations and commitments. In particular, we call on the DPRK to comply with Security Council resolutions demanding that it shall not conduct any further launches that use ballistic missile technology, nuclear tests, or any other provocation and to cease all activities linked to a ballistic missile programme. Until this happens, the EU and its Member States will continue to strictly enforce existing sanctions and call on all other States to do the same.   Furthermore, the EU and its Member States recall that all UN Member States are obliged to implement the restrictions targeting the DPRK’s illegal activities, as imposed by the UN Security Council, and should do their utmost to curb proliferation of goods and technology which could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear, other weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missile-related programmes, including the transfer of dual-used items and their financing.


We remain resolutely committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). We also remain gravely concerned about Iran’s activities that are inconsistent with the JCPOA and strongly urge Iran to return to its full implementation.  The JCPOA is a key achievement of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, unanimously endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and contributing to regional and international security. We deeply regret the withdrawal of the USA from the JCPOA. The EU continues to uphold its commitments including on sanctions’ lifting. We call on all countries to refrain from taking actions that impede the implementation of JCPOA commitments.


The EU urges Iran to refrain from any ballistic missile activities that are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231, notably its Annex B which calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology. In the same vein, we also take note with concern of the launch of Iran’s Qassed Space Launch vehicle on 22 April this year, which placed a military satellite into orbit. The EU continues to fully apply UNSCR 2231 provisions which prohibit the export of missile-related items to and from Iran unless authorized by the UN Security Council, and calls upon Iran to fully respect all relevant UN Security Council resolutions related to the transfer of missiles and relevant material and technology to state and non-state actors. We reiterate our long-standing serious concern about the regional military build-up. 


Since December 2012, the Syrian regime has launched hundreds of ballistic missiles, ranging from liquid-propellant Scud-based missiles but also more accurate and more operational solid-propellant Small Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs). The Syrian activities related to missile technology, along with strong indications of technical and financial support from third countries, constitute a source of concern for the international community.


These developments in countries that are currently not subscribing to the Hague Code of Conduct only further highlight the importance of universalization of the Code, which we will continue to promote in line with EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2370 of 18 December 2017


Let me conclude by thanking you again for all your efforts and expressing our support for the issuance of a communiqué by this Annual Regular Meeting which should help to mobilise further international support for the HCoC.



° Candidate country

* Candidate Countries Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania as well as potential Candidate Country Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland is a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.