photo: © European Union 2018 – European Parliament (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives CreativeCommons licenses creativecommons.org:licenses:by-nc-nd:4.0:)
As EU elections approach, arms control on nuclear weapons is unravelling, giving way to a new arms race amid escalating nuclear rhetoric. ICAN has asked all European Parliament candidates to support ICAN’s parliamentary pledge in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted in 2017. More than 1,000 members of national parliaments across the EU have already joined.
Europeans go to the polls on 23 – 26 May to elect the new European Parliament for a five-year legislative term. The elections take place against take the backdrop of heightened concerns over European security. The recent collapse of the INF Treaty, the US withdrawal from the Iran-Deal and the new nuclear arms race have made nuclear weapons one of the main security threats facing Europe.
In August, the INF Treaty will formally end, leaving previously banned medium-range missiles – missiles meant for obliterating European cities – legal for the US and Russia to deploy.
While the EU Parliament’s focus is on economic integration, it has taken on a stronger role in foreign policy, too, in efforts to integrate defence cooperation and a recent push to take some foreign policy decisions by majority voting among EU states. Already in the past, where the other EU institutions are deadlocked, the Parliament mustered a broad majority in favour of the negotiation and adoption of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in October 2016, calling on all EU Member States to support and sign the treaty, a position the house has repeated in further resolutions since.
Ahead of the EU election, ICAN is urging candidates to sign the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge, committing to address the renewed threat of nuclear weapons through supporting multilateral disarmament and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
It is of utmost importance, in this EU election, to make it clear that the European values of human rights and multilateralism cannot be reconciled with weapons of mass destruction. EU States have a responsibility to protect citizens and make sure that weapons of mass destructions are not threatened, or used, to indiscriminantly harm civilians.
Members of the European Parliament can play a key role in raising awareness around the grave humanitarian consequences and risks of nuclear weapons, and can take measures to put the TPNW on the political agenda at both the EU and national levels.
Within the first 24 hours of launching this campaign, over 100 candidates for the European Parliament signed ICAN’s Parliamentary Pledge. ICAN urges all candidates to commit to protecting this continent by working to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons, and will encourage our activists in European countries to vote for candidates that are committed to supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.