Speech by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini at the Ministerial-level meeting of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Trea

Vienna, 13/06/2016 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 160613_01
Statements on behalf of the EU

Check Against Delivery

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Andorra and San Marino.]

Let me thank you, Mr Chairman, the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO and all organisers for this meeting on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the opening up for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. It is a great opportunity to assess the achievements of the last 20 years, but also to remind us that the Treaty is not in force yet. We have not given up our goal. But to achieve it, we need a stronger push and more unity from all of us.

The European Union has supported the CTBT and its Organization with force and conviction, from the very beginning of its inception. We want the Treaty to enter into force and to be universalised. All EU Member States have ratified it, and we are strongly committed – both politically and financially – to pursuing all the objectives of the Treaty. The many crises we are dealing with cannot distract our attention from this aim: on the contrary, they make it even more urgent.

When the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was opened for signature at UN Headquarters in New York, 20 years ago, the world had gone through decades of nuclear testing, and then years of negotiations. After the tense decades of the cold war, the Treaty gave us hope that a more peaceful and cooperative world was indeed possible.

A lot has been achieved since September 1996.

  • 183 States have signed and 164 of them have ratified the CTBT: this only confirms the strong international support for this Treaty and its goals;
  • All nuclear-weapons States have either signed and ratified the Treaty, or abide by a moratorium on nuclear test explosions;
  • An unprecedented nuclear verification regime of global reach has been created and is working effectively – even if still on provisional basis, pending the entry into force of the CTBT;
  • Substantial technical and human capacities have been built up to help the full implementation of the provisions of the Treaty;
  • Significant civilian applications and capacities, such as to support tsunami warnings or to monitor emissions from radiological accidents, have also been built up. They all complement the primary objective of the verification regime.

Even with its provisional application, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has already strengthened the international non-proliferation regime and our efforts towards global nuclear disarmament. The cessation of all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions constrains the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ends the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons: therefore, it constitutes an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects.

At the same time we still need to deal with major challenges.

  • The complete elimination of nuclear weapon test explosions and nuclear explosions has not yet been achieved. The danger of such explosions still exists. One reminder of this was the latest nuclear test by DPRK in January 2016, and also by other nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. All these tests were strongly condemned by our European Union and the international community;
  • The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. And yet, last year, its Review Conference failed to reach a consensus on the final document;
  • Even after 20 years, the Treaty has not yet entered into force. Important States, playing a key role in the international relations, have still not signed nor ratified it. In particular the eight remaining Annex 2 States have not moved closer to signature and ratification.

We all bear a responsibility to facilitate the signature and ratification by the remaining Annex 2 States.

  • For this, we must work with governments and State institutions. Signing and ratifying the CTBT can be an important step for States who want to deepen their integration in the international community. We should use all opportunities to make this clear, and to enhance international cooperation for the promotion of this Treaty;
  • But we must also search for allies in all societies worldwide. We have a duty to explain the Treaty and its relevance to all citizens of the world. Ultimately, ordinary citizens can be the most powerful sponsors of the Treaty with the decision-makers who have the authority to promote its entry into force and universalisation; 
  • An effective, verifiable and reliable Treaty has great potential to strengthen confidence inside the international community. Such confidence can positively influence other fields of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. This is particularly true in tense and fragile regions such as the Middle East. The European Union supports the objective of creating in the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons, all other weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery. As a stepping-stone towards this long-term objective, a "nuclear-test-free zone" could be created in the Middle East, by way of CTBT ratifications by the remaining States of the region.
  • Besides nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, the highly technical nature of the verification system and the use of high-end technologies are also bringing additional benefits in the field of the civilian applications.

Mr. Chairman,

The European Union has continuously supported the build-up of the verification regime of CTBTO for more than ten years through voluntary contributions. Last October, the European Union adopted its latest Council Decision allocating an additional three million Euros. These funds have already started to finance some critical projects, which contribute to enhancing the capabilities of the Organisation, in particular through capacity building.

Twenty years into the CTBT era, our European Union’s support is strong and continues to grow. Our daily work aims at bringing the CTBTO’s operative readiness to a high level. Together we can pave the way for entry into force of the Treaty at the earliest possible date. This is actually going to be discussed in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on 7 July 2016, in which I am planning to participate.

Threats to global peace are multiplying, including in our Union’s very region. It is time to redouble our efforts, to never again see the dark cloud of a nuclear explosion. In the historic G7 meeting in Hiroshima, world leaders have committed to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Such a dream must translate into concrete action and policies – and the European Union won’t take a backseat to anyone in the pursuit of a more peaceful and secure global order.

Thank you.



§ Candidate Country

* Candidate Countries Former Yugoslav Republic of 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, Norway and Liechtenstein are members of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.


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