Dr. Yiorghos Leventis, Director of International Security Forum – Cyprus, participated in the First Consultative Meeting of the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium held in Brussels on 23-24 May 2011. The Consortium is a novel path-breaking initiative taken by the European Council. Dr. Leventis had the opportunity to exchange views with several colleagues in the field of disarmament. His discussions focused also on possibilities for future cooperation.
On 26 July 2010 the Council of the European Union by its decision2010/430/CFSP established, for the first time in the history of the EU, a European network of independent non-proliferation think tanks in support of the implementation of the EU Strategy Against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium is an independent legal entity, run by a board whose members are the representatives of the four leading think tanks of the Consortium: Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique FRS – France, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt PRIF – Germany, International Institute for Strategic Studies – IISS, Stockholm Peace Research Institute – SIPRI, Sweden. The Consortium conducts its work in close cooperation with the European Union.
The European Council Decision 2010/430/CFSP
Excerpts of the 2010 Council of the European Union decision follow below:
On 8 December 2008, the Council adopted its conclusions and a document New Lines for Action by the European Union in Combating the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their delivery systems (…). (3)
In the New Lines for Action, the Council underlines that action of the Union to prevent proliferation could benefit from the support provided by a non-governmental non-proliferation network, bringing togetherforeign policy institutions and research centres specializing in the Union’s strategic areas while building on useful networks which already exist (…). (5)
… In this context, the projects to be supported by the Union shall cover the following specific activities:
a. providing means for the organization of a kick-off meeting and an annual conference with a view to submitting a report and/or recommendations to the representative of the HR;
b. providing financial and technical means for the creation of an Internet platform to facilitate contacts and foster research dialogue among the network of think tanks analyzing WMD and conventional weapons-related issues, including Small Arms & Light Weapons (SALW). (Article 1, para.3)
The Mission of the Non-Proliferation Consortium
The main aim of the network of independent non-proliferation think tanks is to encourage discussion of measures to combat the proliferation of WMD and their delivery systems within civil society, particularly among experts, researchers and academics. The scope of activities shall also cover issues related to conventional weapons. The fruits of the network discussions can be submitted in the form of reports and recommendations to the responsible EU officials.
The expectation is that the Consortium will support EU action to counter proliferation. To that end, the network can also establish cooperation with specialized institutions and research centres in third countries, in particular in those with which the EU is conducting specific non-proliferation dialogues.
First Consultative Meeting, Brussels 23-24 May 2011
Discussions in the first meeting focused on the following inter alia papers presented by experts:
Peter van Ham (Clingendael, Netherlands): Implementation of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of WMD.
Vicente Garrido Rebolledo (INCIPE, Spain): ‘New Lines for Action’ Implementation gaps
Mark Fitzpatrick (IISS, London): The Iranian Problem: Is a diplomatic solution still possible?
Harald Muller (PRIF, Frankfurt): The NPT after the 2010 Review Conference
Cindy Vestergaard (DIIS, Denmark): Strengthening the BWC: Options for the 2011 Review Conference
The Consortium will promote its aims through i) organizing expert meetings and international conferences (the first expected to be held early 2012) ii) the development of a dedicated website www.nonproliferation.eu and iii) through a series of publications.