European Union External Action

EU Statement on the occasion of the 63rd General Conference of the IAEA

Vienna , 16/09/2019 - 15:57, UNIQUE ID: 190916_13
Statements on behalf of the EU

European Union Statement on the occasion of the 63rd General Conference of the IAEA in Vienna, 16 September 2019




Madam President,

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

2. At the outset, the European Union expresses its deepest condolences to the family of late Director General Yukiya Amano and to the IAEA staff upon thepassing of Mr Amano. This is a great loss for the Agency and for the international community as a whole. The EU would like to thank the IAEA acting Director General and the Secretariat for the dignified ceremony in commemoration of late DG Amano on 21 August.

3. Let me also congratulate you, Madam President, on your election as President of this 63rd General Conference. 

4. The EU attaches great importance to the IAEA's core mandate in the fields of non-proliferation, nuclear energy, nuclear safety, nuclear security and technical cooperation.

5. The EU considers the empowerment of women and gender mainstreaming to be important objectives. We encourage the IAEA to further increase the representation of women in the professional categories and management positions within theSecretariat, and to continue to strengthensystematic mainstreaming of gender equality aspects into the Agency's programmes and projects.

6. The EU and its Member States fully support and encourage the Secretariat’s efforts to ensure cross-functional cooperation in all IAEA activities. We consider that good coordination between the various Agency Departments is crucial to the efficient and effective delivery of programmes.

7. The EU and its Member States also emphasise the importance of predictable, sustainable, and affordable budgets for the Agency as a whole. While it remains vital that the Agency has the resources to meet the many needs and requests of Member States, this must be balanced through the continued identification of efficiencies to ensure the affordability of national contributions. 


Madam President,


8. The EU is fully committed to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The EU reiterates its firm support for the full, complete, and effective implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, in accordance with Article VI of the NPT, and vital for further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We continue to support the universalisation of the NPT and call upon States that have not yet done so to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapon States. 

9. We would like to underline the importance of the IAEA safeguards system in the implementation of the NPT as well as the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council in cases of non-compliance. The EU further recognises the serious proliferation challenges which continue to be a threat to international peace and security, and the need to find peaceful and diplomatic solutions to them.


Madam President,


10. The EU expresses its resolute commitment to and continued support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is determined to continue working with the international community to preserve the JCPOA, unanimously endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231(2015).The EU therefore deeply regrets the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and the re-imposed sanctions, and calls on all countries to refrain from taking actions that impede the implementation of JCPOA commitments. The EU is deeply concerned that, as confirmed by the IAEA, Iran has exceeded the JCPOA stockpile limit of enriched uranium and is enriching uranium above the level of maximum 3.67% allowed by the JCPOA.  We are particularly concerned about developments reported by the IAEA in its report of 8 September regarding Iran’s expansion of its centrifuge R&D activities. The recent installation of centrifuges is inconsistent with the JCPOA, and the intended installation of additional centrifuges, as reported by the IAEA, is extremely worrisome as it could significantly increase Iran’s enrichment capacity. We have repeatedly stressed that full implementation of the JCPOA by Iran is and remains essential. We note Iran’s stated intention to remain within the JCPOA and we urge Iran to reverse these steps and to return to full JCPOA compliance without delay. We support the efforts of the JCPOA participants in addressing these issues within the JCPOA framework, including by the Joint Commission. We urge Iran to cooperate fully and especially also in a timely manner with the IAEA, including through cooperation with the Agency in the implementation of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol. In this regard, the early ratification by Iran of the AP is essential. The EU restates its full support to the IAEA long-term mission of verification and monitoring of Iran's nuclear-related commitments and recalls the importance of ensuring the necessary means for the Agency to carry out its role.

11. The EU urges the DPRK to embark on a credible path towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation, and to take concrete steps in this direction. Until then, the EU will continue to strictly enforce existing sanctions. The EU encourages the DPRK to further engage in meaningful discussions with all relevant parties as the international community works towards lasting peace and security on the KoreanPeninsula. The EU urges the DPRK to comply with relevant UNSC resolutions and return to the NPT and to IAEA Safeguards at an early date and to sign and ratify the CTBT. The EU expects that this General Conference sends clear messages in this regard in its resolution to be adopted on the DPRK. The EU continues to attach the highest importance to maintaining an essential role for the IAEA in verifying the DPRK's nuclear programme and welcomes and supports the Secretariat's efforts to enhance its readiness to do so.

12. Recalling the resolution of the Board of Governors of 9 June 2011, which concluded that the Syrian Arab Republic is in non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement, the EU urges the Syrian Arab Republic to cooperate promptly and transparently with the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues including through concluding and implementing an Additional Protocol as soon as possible. 

13. It remains a strategic priority of the EU to support peace and stability in the entire Middle East. The EU remains committed to the implementation of the Resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 NPT Review Conference. The EU continues to strongly support the Action Plan on the Middle East agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference and reaffirms its full support for the establishment of a Zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East, as agreed by NPT States Parties. The EU is of the view that such Zones should be established on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among all the States of the region concerned. We believe that the path for action as set out in the 2010 Action Plan remains the most promising basis on which to proceed. The EU is funding a UNIDIR project to record and examine efforts to establish a Zone between 1995 and 2015, and to compile ideas for the way forward.


Madam President,


14. Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements together with Additional Protocols constitute the current verification standard and the EU continues to call for their universalisation without delay. We welcome that Liberia and Serbia have recently brought into force Additional Protocols. In this respect, the EU welcomes the fact that 134 States have Additional Protocols in force and also notes that another 14 States have signed an Additional Protocol but have yet to bring it into force. The EU furthermore urges the remaining 35 States which have not yet amended the Small Quantities Protocol (SQP), to accelerate their efforts in this respect.

15. The EU strongly supports the continued improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards implementation through implementation of State-level Approaches(SLAs). A consistent and universalapplication of the SLAs strengthens global non-proliferation efforts.

16. For the EU, the close cooperation between Euratom and the IAEA is conducive to effective and efficient safeguards both in the EU as well as beyond. The EU is actively supporting the Agency's safeguards system through the EC Safeguards Support Programme, the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation and through Member States' Support Programmes.


Madam President,


17. The EU remains firmly committed to the benefits of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and ensuring that high standards of safety, security and safeguards are implemented to protect our collective non-proliferation interests. The EU has supported the establishment of the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank contributing around € 25 million, of which € 20 million for the purpose of acquiring the LEU and around € 4.4 million for safety and security related measures. We noted with satisfaction that the Agency signed contracts with two international companies in 2018 and aims to have the LEU delivered to the storage facility before the end of 2019.

18. The EU notes that projections for global installed nuclear power capacity indicate an increase by 2030, with different regional developments. We acknowledge that all countries have their sovereign right to decide whether or not to include nuclear power as part of their own energy mix and that Member States pursue different approaches to address energy security and climate change. In this regard, we look forward to the International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power to be held in Vienna in October this year.

19. The EU and its Member States attach utmost importance to the worldwide implementation and continuous improvement of nuclear safety. Euratomhas over the past decades established and further developed an advanced, legally-binding and enforceable multilateral nuclear legal framework applicable in all EU Member States. The EU has since 2011 provided its expertise via so-called stress tests in a number of neighbouring countriesand calls upon those countries to properly respond to and implement the findings and recommendations of these assessments in a timely manner. In 2018, the EU Member States and other participating countries completed the first Topical Peer Review on Ageing Management of Nuclear Power Plants and Research Reactors. We invite the IAEA to make use of the outcomes of the this topical peer review when developing and revising IAEA safety standards and safety peer review mission guidelines, as appropriate. Furthermore, we stand ready to share our experience at the topical session dedicated to ageing management to be held during the 8th CNS Review Meeting in 2020.

20. Thus, we take the opportunity to re-affirm our support to the implementation of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), including the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety on the principles for the implementation of the objective of the CNS to prevent accidents and mitigate radiological consequences, which remain a priority for the EU. We also support the implementation of the Joint Convention and we invite all MS to demonstrate their commitment to finding safe radioactive waste management solutions.

21. We encourage all IAEA Member States, especially those that have not done so recently as well as embarking countries, to request peer review missions relevant to their programmes, implement follow-up recommendations as needed and publish reports about these missions. National legislation relevant to nuclear safety of nuclear facilities should take due consideration of international legal instruments pertaining to nuclear safety and security. In addition, the process of planning and construction of nuclear facilities should be underpinned by dialogue with neighbouring countries and effective and transparent public communication. In this regard, we encourage the continued use of existing  international mechanisms enabling timely access to information and public participation.

22. The EU stands ready to share our past experience and encourages the IAEA to continue refining these services and to improve their cooperation and coordination, including the combined IRRS and ARTEMIS mission, to improve their effectiveness and efficiency .


Madam President,

23. The EU stresses the need to continue strengthening nuclear security worldwide and to strengthening international non-proliferation mechanisms in order to sustain/ensure continued access to the many benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear technology. To that end, we highlight the importance of becoming party to and fully implementing the relevant treaties, the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and underline the importance of UNSC Resolutions 1540 and 2325. In the context of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, we are actively supporting international initiatives, which contribute to strengthening nuclear security. For the period 2014 - 2020, the EU dedicates more than € 145 million to the EU’s regional Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence initiative. This initiative concerns 62 countries within 8 regions (South East Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Gulf Cooperation Countries, South East and Eastern Europe, North Africa and Sahel, Central and Eastern Africa and the African Atlantic Façade).

24. The last 12 months have been a key period for preparing the important forthcoming events on nuclear security with a view to confirming the central role of the IAEA in coordinating international cooperation on nuclear security. The EU and its Member States welcome the ongoing preparations of the 2020 International Conference on Nuclear Security and encourage all Member States to participate at ministerial level and to commit to an ambitious and forward-looking Ministerial Declaration, which further strengthens nuclear security globally. The EU also emphasises the importance of the universalisation of the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)and of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT). We are fully committed to engage actively and work with other Parties and the Secretariat in the preparation of the forthcoming review meeting in 2021.

25. The EU strongly supports the IAEA’s central role in improving the global nuclear security framework by strengthening international cooperation and providing direct assistance to Member States. We call on Member States to make full use of the IAEA’s nuclear security advisory services. Together with the bilateral contributions from its Member States, the European Union is among the biggest donors to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. The EU financial support alone to the Fund, based on seven successive Council Joint Actions/Decisions, has reached nearly € 50 million for the period of 2009 - 2019. EU funding to the IAEA has helped the Agency to assist countries to upgrade and ensure the physical protection of selected facilities,to improve their national regulatory infrastructure and thus enhance the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We encourage further Member States to join us in supporting this important work by contributing to the Nuclear Security Fund.


Madam President,

26. The EU and its Member States reaffirm our longstanding and strong support for the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Programme, including through the TC Fund and other supplementary mechanisms such as the Peaceful Uses Initiative, and are the second largest contributor to the TC Programme. The European Union supports both the IAEA and IAEA Member States in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology, also through technical expertise and with an average contribution of €15 million annually. We fully appreciate the Agency's role in promoting safe, secure and sustainable use of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes in all of its technical fields. We underline the importance of an effective, efficient and results-based delivery of the TC projects in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner to ensure tangible socio-economic impact, address Member States priorities as well as their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We positively note the IAEA'scontinuous engagement in the global dialogue on the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the role it plays in climate adaptation and mitigation. We also welcome the Secretariat's present and future efforts to promote gender equality and strengthen gender mainstreaming throughout the TC Programme. 

27. We commend again the achievements of the joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in promoting the cost-effective integration of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) into area-wide integrated pest management campaigns, and more specifically its contribution to the African Union's Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign. The IAEA's Nuclear Sciences and Applications Laboratories at Seibersdorf (NA Laboratories) contribute essential work in this respect and we welcome the progress made in the late Director General Amano’s initiative regarding the modernisation of the NA Laboratories (“ReNuAL and ReNuAL+”). We commend the Secretariat for its innovative resource mobilisation strategy, which enabled reaching out to non-traditional entities and thank all donors that have contributed so far to this important initiative. We note that additional resources are needed for the completion of the ReNuAL+ project and we call upon all Member States in a position to do so to consider further contributions, noting the significant contributions by EU Member States.

28. We support the Agency's efforts in raising awareness on all aspects of peaceful uses of nuclear science and technologies. In this regard, we commend the Agency for the successful 2018 Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology. The EU strongly supports the activities of the Agency to develop radiation and nuclear technologies and their application for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

29. The EU attaches utmost importance to the Agency’s efforts to promote human health, especially in areas related to the diagnosis, treatment and management of cancer and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD). In this regard, we welcome the organisation of this year’s Scientific Forum on "A Decade of Action on Cancer Control and the Way Forward". Cancer control is a vital priority which all Member States of the Agency share. Nuclear technologies can make life-changing contributions to the health and well-being of people across the world.


Finally Madam President, 


30. The EU looks forward to a successful General Conference and would like to assure you of its full support.


I thank you.