Editorial

Dear friends of the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium,

The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium, launched three years ago by COUNCIL DECISION 2010/430/CFSP of 26 July 2010, recently held its second consultative meeting in Brussels on the 17th and 18th June (see article on page 3) and will organize its second international conference on the 30th September and 1st October, again in Brussels (by invitation only). This event will bring our first triennial cycle of meetings to a close.

Moreover, 2013 has witnessed the Consortium’s involvement in activities in support of the Arms Trade Treaty through the organisation of two closed seminars, the first in the Geneva region in February, and the second in Geneva proper in June (see article on page 2). You can also visit the dedicated page on the Consortium’s website,containing agendas and reports, official EU documents, Consortium publications, and publications from the Consortium’s network.

Finally, 30 working documents have been published to date in our “non-proliferation papers” collection, and a further 10 will be published this year. More than 500 articles from across the network, comprising more than 60 independent European think tanks, have already been published in the “thematic” section of our website.

The Consortium’s first three years suggest that a veritable European research identity with regard to arms control and non-proliferation is being consolidated. We would like to thank all of you who have contributed to this success through your participation and your support warmly. Have a great summer!

Benjamin Hautecouverture
EU Non-Proliferation Consortium / Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS)

June/July 2013, Issue No. 10

I do not think nuclear weapons
are the main devil

Given the evolving nature of warfare, new approaches to deterrence are now required. Italy supports the development of missile defense but the question of its financing remains an issue that needs to be addressed in Europe.
Stefano Silvestri (Italy) has been President of the International Affairs Institute from 2001 to 2013. He has been and is involved in a number of research projects regarding defense policy at national, EU and NATO level. He has been also Defence Under Secretary of Italian Government, Consultant of Italian Defense Minister, and Member of the Conseil Economique de la Défense of the French Government. He is also Member of the Board of the Italian Association of Aerospace and Defense Industries (AIAD), of the Trilateral Commission, and of the European Security Research Advisory Board (ESRAB) of the European Commission.
How has the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) touched upon issues of non-proliferation of WMD and the fight against dissemination of conventional weapons?

Our Institute has been engaged in the non-proliferation debate since the signing of the NPT by the Italian government, and has published a number of researches on the proliferation of nuclear weapons and on various aspects of the nuclear strategy and deterrence, with particular emphasis on Europe (for instance, on the nuclear debate inside the Atlantic Alliance, on the American “tactical” nuclear weapons in Europe, etc.). Nuclear proliferation has been studied as one of the aspects of the evolving global governance, when we have analyzed the performances of G-7/8 and from a juridical perspective, considering the evolutions of International Humanitarian Law.

As a specialist of European strategic issues, what positions should Europe defend at the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference?

I favor the perspective of a progressive elimination of all national nuclear arsenals, but I do not think that nuclear weapons are the only, nor the main, devil. I am increasingly worried by the evolution of war as a kind of permanent low/medium level warfare, mixing together a large number of ingredients, domestic as well as international, military, para-military and civilian, using conventional and unconventional technologies. This kind of warfare could reach the nuclear threshold, requiring new deterrence approaches and possibly new operational strategies. I doubt that the Review Conference will be able to confront these issues. Probably the best approach should be one of relatively low expectations, concentrating on a couple of issues like the promotion (in a very distant future?) of a Regional Middle East Nuclear Free Area, and on the internationalization of the production and storage of enriched Uranium.

The geographical positioning of Italy makes of ballistic missiles a key issue. What is the Italian approach to this matter?

The missile threat from others than Russia is very low and does not justify great anti-missile expenditures. There is of course an industrial and technological interest to pursue these programs, as well as the intention of maintaining the unity of purpose among the Atlantic Allies. Italy is officially in favor of developing anti-missile defenses, possibly using European technologies and products. However I am at loss to understand how do we think to pay for them, unless is a very limited program (just good to intercept ballistic Iranian missiles): this we may possibly afford, but the question will remain, if there are other better ways to spend that money.


Interview conducted by Laetitia Sanchez Incera
Research Assistant
Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), Paris