The first international conference of the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium was a success
The original objective was to establish a major non-proliferation conference in Europe, comparable to the Washington Carnegie non-proliferation conference. It should provide a platform for the European non-proliferation community and an opportunity for a broad dialogue amongst a wide circle of experts, governmental and non-governmental, Europeans and non-Europeans. It was also meant to be an opportunity for the next generation of EU non-proliferation experts who were also invited to meet and engage with most of the leading international figures in the field. Thanks to the experience of one Consortium member in organizing major policy events and the skills of the IISS team, these objectives were fully met for the first event, which, according to international participants, immediately met the standards for of the leading events in the field.The goal of the Consortium is to promote dialogue, within but also without the EU. How did this take shape during the conference?
The two-day event allowed the wider community of experts to meet and engage beyond the EU non-proliferation consortium’s network. Many participants came from outside the Union with a strong delegation of North American experts but also scholars from the Middle East and Russia. The choice made to put online the videos
The Consortium has also created a website www.nonproliferation.eu and a e-newsletter Nonproliferation.eu. It has already published 21 policy papers (13 Non-Proliferation Papers and 8 background papers for the Middle East WMDFZ seminar) that are all available online. The Consortium has established a unique network of more than 50 EU based research centres and think tanks in 20 European countries offering all members a platform to share their research and publications and inform about their events. It proves a unique database concerning the whole spectrum of EU non-proliferation policies. This has been made possible by the active involvement of all founding core group members (FRS, IISS, PRIF and SIPRI) which have all dedicated permanent staff to the success of these numerous projects.
In 2012 and beyond the February Brussels EU International Non-Proliferation Conference, we are working on a possible follow up Middle East seminar and we will focus on further developing the network and its online publications. As a Consortium, we also stand ready to work with the EU on future projects if appropriate.
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The EU Consortium could not exist without the support of the EU and I hope that the EU non-proliferation policy implemented by the External Action Service benefits from the expertise and projects developed by the Consortium in close coordination with the EU. Even though and as a matter of principle, the EU Consortium brings together a group of European non-governmental organizations and a wider network of EU research centres and think tanks that are fully independent, we certainly hope that the research papers commissioned by the Consortium and published in the Non-Proliferation Papers series and the events organized by the Consortium provide useful policy-oriented ideas to develop and foster non-proliferation action by the EU. The July 2011 track II “EU seminar to promote confidence building and in support of a process aimed at establishing a zone free of WMD and means of delivery in the Middle East” is another example of an event adding up to the EU commitment to support the establishment of a Middle East WMDFZ.