Friday, March 12, 2010

Euro MPs call for withdrawal of us tactical nuclear weapons from Europe

The European Parliament on Wednesday branded tactical nuclear weapons on its soil as "an anachronism" and called for them to be withdrawn.

In a Strasbourg vote, the Parliament became the first EU institution to back US President Obama's commitment to a world without nuclear weapons. Ahead of a review of the non-proliferation treaty, Euro MPs urged the EU to address ‘the strategic anachronism of tactical nuclear weapons’ in Europe.

Welcoming the move, S&D leader Martin Schulz said: "President Obama has created the opportunity to move closer to a nuclear-free world. We expect EU ministers to support this commitment and to propose an ambitious timetable for achieving it."

The Parliament's resolution says that revision of NATO's strategic concept offers an opportunity to reassess the alliance's nuclear policy. Up to 200 nuclear weapons are estimated to be deployed in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. The fifth NATO state with US nuclear weapons on its territory, Turkey, is a candidate for EU membership.

The resolution says that withdrawing these weapons could help future nuclear disarmament. It notes Germany’s new policy of working towards their withdrawal from its territory.

Said S&D vice-president Adrian Severin: "All EU member states have an obligation to contribute successfully to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament policies. We are pleased that the European Parliament is now calling for the removal of all tactical nuclear warheads from Europe. This will also be good news for European citizens because it will improve their security."

The S&D Group officially endorsed withdrawal of nuclear weapons four years ago. S&D delegation leaders from the countries directly concerned – Bernhard Rapkay (Germany), David Sassoli (Italy), Kathleen Van Brempt (Belgium), and Thijs Berman (the Netherlands) –give the move their full support.

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