At the initiative of the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament is holding today a debate, followed by the adoption of the resolution on the future of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), an agreement between the US and the Soviet Union that since 1987 has banned all land-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.
The S&D Group regrets the decision by US President to withdraw the United States from this crucial agreement, following years of unresolved dispute over Russian compliance with the treaty. We call on Europe to push for the conversion of the INF Treaty into a multilateral Treaty in order to include other nuclear states, like China.
The S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann said:
“The INF Treaty has been for 30 years the cornerstone of arms control and European security. Its collapse would most immediately create new, serious risks for Europe. That is why in the first stance we call on Russia and the US to engage in a constructive dialogue to save the INF Treaty, before their effective withdrawal in August 2019. Russia should return to full and verifiable compliance with the Treaty.
“The EU will not simply watch a renewed arms race between US and Russia. It must now play a much stronger role in global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. We call on High Representative Mogherini to launch an EU led initiative to convert the INF into a multilateral Treaty in order to include all nuclear states, including China.
“We have to do everything possible to avoid the nightmares of the arms races from the ‘70s and ‘80s! The Socialists and Democrats have always believed that our security depends on disarmament. A world without weapons of mass destruction is a safer one for everybody.”
Clare Moody, S&D vice-chair of the subcommittee on security and defence said:
"Europe has benefited most of all from the reduction in arms that were associated with the INF Treaty. The US, followed by Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Treaty leaves Europe more exposed and vulnerable to a new global arms race. We want to see Russia return to verifiable compliance with effective oversight enabling both the United States and Russia to revoke their suspensions of the INF Treaty.
“The critical future of the INF Treaty should not put in jeopardy other arms control agreements. We urge the Unites States and Russia to renew the New Start agreement before it expires in 2021.
"The Socialist and Democrats Group are clear that we do not want to see a return to the Cold War era of brinkmanship and military escalation. Europe must have a common position on opposing a new arms race and remilitarisation on European soil."