The risk of proliferation and use of chemical weapons poses a serious threat to international peace and security. The European Union stands against the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances. As a consequence, the EU has been a strong and consistent supporter of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the implementation of its mandate, politically and financially.
On 1 April 2019 the EU renewed its support to the activities of the OPCW with €11.6 million worth of funding over the next three years. This decision, taken by the EU Council, foresees a contribution of €4 million to the core activities of the Organisation, notably verification, national implementation, universalisation and the Africa programme. It will also be used to help the OPCW identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The EU will also contribute €7.6 million to transform the OPCW laboratory into a Centre for Chemistry and Technology.
The EU’s overall financial contribution in support of the OPCW activities since 2004 amounts to €47 million. In addition to this voluntary financial contribution, the European Union’s Member States' contributions together account for over 40% of the OPCW's annual budget.
EU helps to destroy chemicals weapons in Syria
In the past, financial support has been provided for the destruction of declared chemical weapons in Syria, for the OPCW Fact Finding Mission in Syria with regards to the investigation of cases of alleged use of chemicals substances, as well as to the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism set up to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks. In addition, the European Union is also providing satellite imagery through its Satellite Centre in Madrid to support operations in Syria as well as funding for the decontamination of the former Chemical Weapons storage site in Libya.
EU supports full implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Convention has been in force since 1997 and is one of the most successful disarmament regimes, resulting in the verified destruction of almost 97% of the declared chemical weapons by States Parties.
This new Council Decision reflects the strong and continued commitment of the European Union and its Member States to the full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It also represents tangible contribution to the strengthening of OPCW capacities to assist States meet their obligations under the Convention and address the renewed threat of the use of chemical weapons.
Over the past years, the High Representative and the Commission have put forward concrete actions to step up the EU's resilience to hybrid and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related threats, which the European Council welcomed in June 2018. As a concrete follow-up action, a new EU regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons was adopted in December 2018 and activated in 2019.