BALLISTIC MISSILE PROLIFERATION
EU Common Position on the fight against ballistic missile proliferation.
||Article 15 EU; unanimity
||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration:
||EM and Minister's letter of 13 July 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|Adopted in Council:
||23 July 2001|
||Not cleared; further information requested
9.1 The Missile Technology (Export) Control Regime
(MTCR) seeks to control exports that could contribute to the development
of long-range missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction.
33 countries, including all the EU Member States, participate.
The draft International Code of Conduct against
ballistic missile proliferation
9.2 According to the Minister for Europe (Mr Peter
Hain), writing on 13 July on behalf of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr Ben Bradshaw),
the MTCR countries have long understood that export controls alone
are not the total answer. On the basis of a British draft, the
MTCR has developed a draft International Code of Conduct against
ballistic missile proliferation (ICOC) which incorporates a set
of principles, commitments and transparency measures. These establish,
for the first time, norms aimed at preventing proliferation of
9.3 The Minister elaborates on his letter in an
Explanatory Memorandum, also dated 13 July. He explains that the
MTCR is engaged in an effort to attract support for the ICOC from
the rest of the international community. In September, at its
Plenary meeting in Ottawa, he expected the MTCR to aim to reach
decisions on the process and timetable for moving the ICOC towards
adoption, at an international conference, as an international
The Common Position
9.4 The draft Common Position refers to the adoption
by the Göteborg European Council on 15/16 June of a Declaration
on the prevention of proliferation of ballistic missiles
and the General Affairs Council Conclusions of 14 May 2001.
9.5 The Common Position stresses that the issue
of proliferation of these missiles is of concern to the EU. Strengthening
international norms and political instruments to prevent the proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery is
of "prime importance" to the EU and it sees an urgent
need for a global and multilateral approach to complement existing
efforts against proliferation.
9.6 The EU therefore strongly supports the draft
Code, which has been drawn up by the members of the MTCR and distributed
to all countries, inviting them to support it. The Common Position
describes the initiative as the most advanced in this field and
one which provides the best chance of achieving results in the
The Government's view
9.7 The Minister makes it clear in his letter and
his Explanatory Memorandum that the Government has played a leading
role in this initiative. He comments that the Common Position
formalises the strong support of the EU for the Code, which he
says he expected would be adopted by the Council on 23 July.
9.8 The Government has provided us with an unofficial
text of the draft ICOC, which was endorsed by the MTCR in Ottawa.
We understand that it will be discussed further, this time with
non-MTCR as well as MTCR countries, and will form the basis of
a draft political agreement. This will be a politically, but not
legally, binding document, which it is hoped will be adopted at
a conference before the end of 2002 in the Netherlands. Meanwhile,
the French Government has been given the task of taking forward
attempts to secure wider participation from the international
9.9 The draft Common Position was adopted on 23
July as an 'A' point, that is without discussion in the Council.
Unofficial text of the draft ICOC
9.10 In the draft text revised at Ottawa, the principles
- recognition of the need to prevent and curb the
proliferation of ballistic missile systems capable of delivering
weapons of mass destruction and the need to undertake appropriate
international endeavours, including through the Code;
- recognition that participation in this Code is
voluntary and open to all States; and
- recognition that space vehicle launch programmes
should not be used to conceal ballistic missile programmes.
9.11 The general measures include commitments:
" to ratify,
accede to or otherwise abide by:
(a) the Treaty on Principles
Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use
of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies;
(b) the Convention on International Liability for
Damage Caused by Space Objects; and
(c) the convention on Registration of Objects Launched
into Outer Space;
" to curb and prevent the proliferation
of Ballistic Missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction,
both at a global and regional level through multilateral, bilateral
and national endeavours; and
" to exercise maximum possible restraint
in the development, testing and deployment of Ballistic Missiles
capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, including,
where possible, to reduce national holdings of such missiles,
in the interest of global and regional peace and security".
9.12 To increase confidence, the subscribing states
resolve to implement transparency measures, "with
an appropriate and sufficient degree of detail". These are
"i) With respect to
Ballistic Missile programmes to:
make an annual declaration
providing an outline of their Ballistic Missile policies. Examples
of openness in such declarations might be relevant information
on Ballistic Missile systems and land (test-) launch sites; and
provide annual information on the number
and generic class of Ballistic Missiles launched during the preceding
year, as declared in conformity with the pre-launch notification
mechanism referred to hereunder, in tiret iii).
"ii) With respect to expendable Space Launch
Vehicle programmes, and consistent with commercial and economic
confidentiality principles, to:
make an annual declaration
providing an outline of their Space Launch Vehicle policies and
land (test-) launch site;
provide annual information on the number
and generic class of Space Launch Vehicles launched during the
preceding year, as declared in conformity with the pre-launch
notification mechanism referred to hereunder, in tiret iii); and
consider, on a voluntary basis (including
on the degree of access permitted), inviting international observers
to their land (test-) launch sites.
"iii) With respect to their Ballistic Missile
and Space Launch Vehicle programmes to:
notifications on their Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Vehicle
launches and test flights. These notifications should include
such information as the generic class of the Ballistic Missile
or Space Launch Vehicle, the planned launch notification window,
the launch area and the planned direction."
9.13 The text notes that implementation of these
confidence-building measures does not serve as justification for
the programmes to which they apply.
9.14 Efforts to curb the proliferation of ballistic
missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction through
international agreements are, of course, to be welcomed. Two Councils
set out clearly the support of Member States for this attempt
to "universalise" the draft International Code of Conduct
and the Common Position goes no further than to formalise the
EU's strong support for it. We note that it has already been adopted.
9.15 In view of the leading role which the UK
played in this initiative, we can understand that the Minister
decided that he should lift the scrutiny reserve. Nevertheless,
we ask him to put his reasons on record in a letter to this Committee.
At the same time, we ask him to provide us with an assessment
of how effective this voluntary code is likely to be, commenting
on which non-Missile Technology Control Regime countries are likely
to sign up to it and to observe the commitments in it.
9.16 In addition, we ask the Minister whether
the Government considers that other measures should be taken to
protect the European Community, or individual Member States, against
the proliferation of ballistic missiles. Should these measures
include participation in the Nuclear Missile Defence System of
the United States of America?
9.17 In the meantime we do not clear the document.
20 Press Release No. 200/01 of 15 June, Annex I. Back
Release No. 8441/01, page 18: CFSP: Council Conclusions on missile