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European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

José Manuel Durao Barroso

President of the European Commission

Speech by President Barroso at the 3rd Nuclear Security Summit

Plenary Discussion

The Hague, 25 March 2014


Let me first thank Prime Minister Rutte and the Netherlands for hosting us. Today's Summit is a success and has deepened progress since our meetings in Washington and Seoul.

This progress is unfortunately not self-evident. We come together at a point in time when international stability and security are being put into question in a very serious manner. It is therefore all the more important to show that we are united in our commitment to a multilateral order based on peace and the unequivocal respect of the rule of law.

We are here today to enhance our international efforts to secure nuclear material and prevent nuclear terrorism. In doing so, we should recall that our most fundamental objective is of course to protect our citizens.

Guarding our citizens' security and shielding them from attack goes together with protecting them from unintentional releases of radioactivity.

It is precisely because of this close link between nuclear safety and security that I believe we must focus on safety and security issues.

The European Commission engagement in the area of nuclear security and the achievement since Seoul 2012 have been described in the EU report issued at the occasion of this summit. Moreover, the EU event we have organised last Thursday in Amsterdam was also an opportunity for promoting nuclear security culture through enhancing international cooperation.

Let me focus now on the nuclear safety aspects.

As I informed you already in 2012, after Fukushima nuclear accident, the EU has performed an unprecedented review of nuclear safety and security.

The EU's executive body, the European Commission, was fully involved in the safety track. On the basis of self-assessments performed by licensees, EU Member States developed national reports, and following peer reviews coordinated by the Commission, clear recommendations were made and are now being implemented under detailed national Action Plans.

The EU stress test exercise is thus leading to concrete improvements in nuclear power plants. The next step for the European Commission and EU Member States is to make further progress in implementing the National Action Plans.

We were very pleased to associate on a voluntary basis neighbouring countries in this exercise.

Beyond that, we encouraged and cooperated with nuclear regulators around the world to perform similar exercises, inspired by the European model. I welcome the fact that many partners saw our model as an example of best practice to be followed. We remain ready to assist any country in this regard.

Having looked at Fukushima and the outcome of our stress tests, we also identified a need to reinforce our own EU legal framework. The European Commission therefore proposed a revision of our main piece of legislation in the field - the Nuclear Safety Directive. Our standards are already very high. However, continuous improvement is required.

Furthermore, efforts are already underway to improve off-site emergency preparedness and response measures. We are currently evaluating the different options and will propose initiatives later this year.

All our activities are accompanied by an extensive R&D programme and training.

Finally, a word on critical international cooperation: As I said, the imperative and logic of working together globally is obvious. In all our efforts, we seek to move with our partners – in this area, perhaps more than in any other. The EU itself has a dedicated Nuclear Safety Co-operation Instrument through which we support better nuclear safety in partner countries. Over our last financial period (2007-2013) we invested €520 million in safety across the globe.

I would like to stress our close co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its Director-General Yukia Amano.

The European Commission strongly supports the Agency's Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. The various initiatives which we in the EU have been spearheading are our contributions to the implementation of that Plan.

Furthermore, we look forward to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Nuclear Safety Co-operation that we signed with the IAEA last September. This will help us identify synergies and focus our efforts.


To conclude: The European Union remains strongly committed to reinforcing nuclear safety and security. I therefore urge that we continue with the strongest possible, common and truly global approach. We all stand to benefit from such progress.

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