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Seoul, 26 March 2012

EUCO 59/12



Remarks by the President of the European Council
Herman Van Rompuy
at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit

I have the honour to share some points from the European Union's perspective with you.

Let me first thank President Lee Myung-bak for his excellent hosting and chairing of today's meeting. I warmly welcome the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit and the chairmanship of the Republic of Korea. This is a successful continuation of the Washington Summit held on the initiative of President Obama.

The European Union takes the potential threat of nuclear terrorism very seriously. Already back in 2003, the EU Heads of State and Government agreed that the EU would act decisively against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Strengthening nuclear security is part of our efforts to counter proliferation, pursue disarmament, and to ensure that the best safety, security and non-proliferation standards are followed in countries using nuclear energy. In this context, proliferation - whether by states or non-state actors - continues to pose a grave threat to international peace and security.

The European Union is committed to achieving the highest level of nuclear security. We would like to see a global security culture emerging, with the understanding that ultimately, it is the responsibility of every state to maintain effective nuclear security. I would like to appeal for more intense national efforts and international cooperation - to counter the threat that concerns all of us.

I welcome the commitments we have heard at this Summit concerning the minimisation and even eventual elimination of High Enriched Uranium in civilian use. Within the EU, conversion of the few remaining research reactors fuelled with High Enriched Uranium is envisaged for the end of this decade, depending on the technical and economical feasibility.

The EU welcomes that this Summit will address new important areas. The security of radioactive sources is high on our agenda and the EU is currently revising its own regulatory framework. Another area which deserves further attention is information security.

Within the EU, we are working hard to implement an ambitious CBRN Action Plan with more than 100 actions to strengthen chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security throughout 27 EU Member States. We will involve all stakeholders, including industry, academia, research, law enforcement, border control and civil defence.

Internationally, our actions are guided by three simple principles: effective multilateralism, prevention and cooperation. We continue to advocate universal adherence to international treaties and call on all countries to implement their obligations. We promote stringent national export controls and underline the need to combat illicit trafficking. And we are keen to continue close cooperation with our partners and to look for new cooperation possibilities with other interested countries.

The International Atomic Energy Agency plays a leading role in international cooperation and assisting countries to improve the security of nuclear materials and installations. The EU has a longstanding and fruitful co-operation with the Agency including on nuclear security, safeguards, safety, nuclear energy and nuclear applications. The EU's funding to the Agency's Nuclear Security Fund has helped to support more than 100 countries around the world, in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Gulf, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The EU has a wide range of programmes, which contribute to improving security standards globally. We aim at avoiding duplication and ensuring that any measures are coherent with the existing regulations and the work of international organisations.

Our latest initiative - the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence - will enhance institutional capacities of selected countries and regions against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks. 70 million euro will be spent in 2012-13 to benefit 62 countries in eight regions, including Central and West Africa, the Maghreb, the Middle East, the Gulf, the Caucasus, and Central and South East Asia.

The EU also contributes significantly, up to 1 billion Euro since 2002, to the G8 Global Partnership Programme; it participates in the work of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and assists countries in implementing their obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

To conclude my remarks, this Summit is an important opportunity to reaffirm our commitments and encourage further work in the next two years. With the help of the Washington Work Plan and the Seoul Communiqué we will be able, all together, to significantly reduce the danger of nuclear terrorism.

I should like to express again my appreciation for President Lee Myung-bak and underline the Union's support for these efforts and our willingness to cooperate with all participants and also with those countries which are not present today.

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