The EU’s Non-proliferation Strategy Ten Years On

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Series Details Vol.19, Issue 1, February 2014, p45–63
Publication Date February 2014
ISSN 1384-6299
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2013 marked the tenth anniversary of the European Union's Strategy Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Since 2003 the EU has taken significant strides in institutionalizing cooperation on non-proliferation policy and establishing itself as an actor in the sphere of non-proliferation. The EU is now a prominent player in all the major multilateral frameworks relating to non-proliferation and WMD arms control, as well as a leading provider of financial and technical assistance in support of non-proliferation. The impact of the EU's non-proliferation strategy, however, has been less than might have been hoped. In the main multilateral arms control and non-proliferation frameworks, the EU has come up against basic political obstacles that cannot be easily overcome. In terms of key countries and regions of proliferation concern, the EU lacks the leverage to decisively shape the WMD-related decisions of the states concerned. Nevertheless, the EU's non-proliferation strategy is a sensible one: the Union's Member States share an important interest in constraining WMD proliferation, their ability to advance this objective is increased by acting collectively and there is no readily available alternative strategy. The lessons of the first decade of that strategy, however, are that there are limits to what the EU can achieve in the sphere of non-proliferation and that progress will be incremental rather than dramatic.

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