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