As members of the European Leadership Network (ELN), we have committed
ourselves to working toward a world without nuclear weapons. Such a world will
only come about as a result of a joint enterprise involving leaders and
peoples from every continent. It will only be achievable if the practical
steps required to reach this goal are seen as contributing to every countrys
national security as well as to global security. And it will only come about
if leaders in every country and region take their share of the responsibility
The Euro-Atlantic region, which includes the United States, all the
countries of Europe, and Russia is home to more than 95 percent of all the
nuclear weapons on earth, four of the five declared nuclear weapon states in
the NPT, and nine of the fourteen states in the world with nuclear weapons on
their territory (namely the US, Russia, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey,
Belgium and the Netherlands).
While the likelihood of a devastating conventional or nuclear conflict in
the Euro-Atlantic region has dramatically declined, it is a region still
scarred by the experience of 20th century conflict and by a deep and
persisting legacy of Cold War mistrust. Cold Warera security concepts and
many of their associated weapons and military postures continue to dominate.
In particular, the currency of nuclear deterrence and mutual assured
destruction continues in circulation. Large strategic nuclear forces remain
deployed on prompt launch, ready to be fired in minutes; thousands of tactical
nuclear weapons are still stockpiled in Europe; and a decades-old missile
defence debate remains stuck in neutral. In addition, new security challenges
associated with prompt-strike forces, cyber-security, and space remain
contentious and inadequately addressed. The status quo is dangerous and
potentially destabilizing, undermining the trust necessary for cooperative
efforts to meet emerging security threats in Europe and across the world.
Our publics are paying the price. In addition to raising their security
risks, the current situation increases the costs of defence and misdirects
resources away from fiscal demands, domestic priorities and other emerging
security challenges and threats. In the area of nuclear weapons alone, the
looming price tag in the region is at least $500bn.
We do not pretend that a new and improved security climate in the region
would save all this expenditure but over time the savings could be substantial
and they could multiply in the non-nuclear areas of security policy.
A call for change:
For both the security and economic well-being of our citizens therefore, we
urgently need to start a new, continuing and dynamic process of Euro-Atlantic
security dialogue to address this situation. This dialogue must be politically
mandated from the highest level and must involve senior civilian and military
In particular, we call for the following:
- The formation, at the request of leaders in a core group of countries in
the region, of an informal Euro-Atlantic Security Contact group to develop
recommendations to leaders on the principles that should underpin the
dialogue, the kind of civilian and military leadership that should be tasked
with conducting it, and the issues to be addressed. Whatever the specifics
of the process, it must be capable of encompassing a discussion of security
that is both comprehensive and focused on practical steps.
- New tracks for dialogue on specific issues to be set up bilaterally,
multilaterally and in sub-regions of the Euro-Atlantic region as deemed
necessary within the wider process, and existing entities such as the
NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE to be used as venues for discussing
specific issues. National leaders and members of the Contact group would
continue to be involved as the dialogue progresses.
In our view, the core principles shaping the dialogue should be:
- To consider all elements of offence and defence, nuclear and
conventional weapons, and cyber-security and space in a new security
- Reducing the role of nuclear weapons as an essential part of any
nations overall security posture without jeopardising the security of any
of the parties;
- Creating robust and accepted methods to increase leadership decision
time during heightened tensions and extreme situations;
- Transitioning from the remnants of mutual assured destruction to mutual
understanding to mutual early warning to mutual defence to mutual security;
- Enhancing stability through increased transparency, cooperation and
trust. The fear of any short-warning attack should be taken off the table.
Within this flexible framework for dialogue, we believe the following
should be seen as immediate priorities:
- Practical steps to increase decision time and crisis stability for
leaders, in particular with respect to U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear
forces. Even under the latest nuclear arms treaty, each country will
maintain thousands of nuclear warheads on hundreds of ballistic missiles
ready for prompt launch and capable of hitting their targets in less than 30
minutes. This status increases the risk that a decision to use ballistic
missiles will be made in haste based on false warning, as well as the risk
of an accidental or unauthorized missile launch. The US and Russia should
take steps now to remove a percentage of their strategic forces off prompt
launch status as a priority;
- Further cuts in U.S. and Russian deployed strategic nuclear forces;
- Reciprocal transparency, security and confidence building measures on
tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, including bold reductions in these
- The establishment of a Missile Defence Cooperation Centre to share data
from early warning radars and satellites;
- Reciprocal transparency measures with regard to missile defence systems
and capabilities, including annual updates;
- Continued joint missile defence exercises;
- Written political commitments not to deploy missile defences that would
undermine strategic stability.
Conventional Forces in Europe:
- Strengthened confidence and security building measures through increased
evaluation visit quotas under the Vienna Document;
- An expanded Open Skies Treaty to include not only the current 34 states
to which the Treaty applies but all 57 states in the OSCE and a wider range
of technical data collection capabilities than currently permitted under the
- Regardless of the current status of the Conventional Forces Europe (CFE)
Treaty, pursue agreement on provisions that extend leadership decision time.
Additional transparency could be provided on data and activities related to
military forces out of garrison and increased clarity on deployment of
Conventional Prompt Global Strike Forces:
- Conceptual discussions on possible programmatic and operational
transparency and confidence building measures and other steps, should such
weapons eventually be developed and deployed.
- Begin discussing and implementing a process of early sharing of
information on cyber-threats, shared approaches to defence of networks, and
joint responses to cyber-attacks. This collaboration could include
discussions relating to the development of international agreement or
agreements that would limit cyber war.
- Exchange of information relating to a proposed draft Code of Conduct for
Outer Space activities, to help facilitate future agreement on such a Code.
This new approach for building mutual security in the Euro-Atlantic region
can lead to a more secure and promising future for all our citizens. We have a
historic but perhaps fleeting opportunity to act. Our leaders must do so.
- Des Browne, former Secretary of State for Defence,
- Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security
Conference, former Parliamentary State Secretary of the German MFA, former
Ambassador to the United States and to the United Kingdom, Germany.
- Igor Ivanov, former Foreign Minister and Secretary of
the Security Council, Russia.
- James Arbuthnot, serving Member of Parliament, Chair of
the Defence Select Committee, United Kingdom.
- Aytuğ Atici, serving Member of the Grand National
- Margaret Beckett, serving Member of Parliament former
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom.
- Alexander Bessmertnykh, former Foreign Minister,
- Hans Blix, former Foreign Minister, IAEA Director
General and Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring,
Verification and Inspection Commission, Sweden.
- Jaakko Blomberg, former Ambassador to Canada,
Ambassador to Estonia and Special Adviser on Cyprus to the European
Commissioner for Enlargement, Finland.
- Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister, Norway.
- Hans van den Broek, former Foreign Minister and
European Commissioner for External Relations, Netherlands.
- Gro Brundtland, former Prime Minister, Norway.
- Alistair Burt, serving Member of Parliament and former
Foreign Office minister, United Kingdom.
- Menzies Campbell, serving Member of Parliament and
former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, United Kingdom.
- Ingvar Carlsson, former Prime Minister, Sweden.
- Hikmet Çetin, former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime
- Tarja Cronberg, serving Member of the European
Parliament and Chair of the European Parliament delegation for relations
with Iran, Finland.
- Vladimir Dvorkin, retired Major-General and former
Director of the Fourth Central Research Institute in Moscow, Russia.
- Rolf Ekéus, former Ambassador to the United States and
Director of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, Sweden.
- Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, former Foreign Minister, Denmark.
- Vahit Erdem, former Member of the Turkish Grand
National Assembly, Chief Adviser to President Süleyman Demirel, Head of the
Turkish Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Vice-President of
the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Turkey.
- Gernot Erler, serving Member of the Bundestag, Deputy
Head of the SPD Parliamentary Group, and former Parliamentary State
Secretary of the German MFA, Germany.
- Anatoliy Grytsenko, serving Member of Parliament and
Chairman of the Parliamentary National Security and Defence Committee,
former Defence Minister, Ukraine.
- Jan Hamáček, serving Member of Parliament and Speaker
of the Chamber of Deputies, Czech Republic.
- David Hannay, former Permanent Representative to the
EEC and the UN, United Kingdom.
- Nick Harvey, serving Member of Parliament and former
Minister of State for the Armed Forces, United Kingdom.
- Armin Hasenpusch, retired Major General and Former Vice
President of the Foreign Intelligence Service (BND), Germany.
- Geoffrey Howe, former Secretary of State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom.
- Douglas Hurd, former Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom.
- Jaakko Iloniemi, former Ambassador to the CSCE and
Ambassador to the United States, Finland.
- Juhani Kaskeala, former Chief of Defence, Finland.
- Jan Kavan, former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime
Minister, Czech Republic.
- Katja Keul, serving Member of the Bundestag and the
Defence Committee, Germany.
- John Kerr, former UK Ambassador to the US and the EU,
- Tom King, former Secretary of State for Defence, United
- Pierre Lellouche, former Minister of European Affairs
and Minister of International Trade, France.
- Budimir Lončar, President of the Foreign Affairs and
International Relations Advisory Committee to the President of the Republic
of Croatia, former Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia, Croatia.
- Ruud Lubbers, former Prime Minister, Netherlands.
- Mogens Lykketoft, Speaker of the Folketing, former
Foreign Minister, Denmark.
- Giorgio La Malfa, former Minister of European Affairs,
- Evgeniy Maslin, retired Colonel General and former
Director of the 12th Main Directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defence,
- John McColl, former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied
Commander Europe (DSACEUR), United Kingdom.
- Federica Mogherini, serving Member of Parliament and
President of the Italian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly,
- Eoghan Murphy, serving Member of the Dáil Éireann and
Head of the Irish Parliament to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Republic of
- Klaus Naumann, General (ret), GEAR, former Chairman of
the NATO Military Committee, Germany.
- Bernard Norlain, former Air Defense Commander and Air
Combat Commander of the French Air Force, France.
- Volodymyr Ogrysko, former Foreign Minister, Ukraine.
- Janusz Onyszkiewicz, former Defence Minister and
Vice-President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament,
- David Owen, former Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom.
- Ana Palacio, former Foreign Minister, Spain.
- Boris Pankin, former Foreign Minister and Ambassador to
the United Kingdom, Russia.
- Paul Quilès, former Defence Minister, France.
- Elisabeth Rehn, former Defence Minister, Finland.
- Malcolm Rifkind, serving Member of Parliament, former
Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom.
- Adam Daniel Rotfeld, former Foreign Minister, Poland.
- Volker Rühe, former Defence Minister, Germany.
- Konstantin Samofalov, serving Member of Parliament,
- Özdem Sanberk, Director of the International Strategic
Research Organisation, former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign
- Rudolf Scharping, former Chairman of the Social
Democratic Party and Defence Minister, Germany.
- Javier Solana, former Foreign Minister, Secretary
General of NATO and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and
Security Policy, Spain.
- John Stanley, serving Member of Parliament and Chairman
of the Committees on Arms Export Controls, United Kingdom.
- Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Defence Minister and
Foreign Minister, Norway.
- Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional
Cooperation Council and former Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia, Serbia.
- Boris Tadić, former President, Serbia.
- Carlo Trezza, Chairman of the Missile Technology
Control Regime (MTCR), former Special Envoy for Disarmament and
Non-proliferation and Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Italy.
- Vyacheslav Trubnikov, former Director of the Foreign
Intelligence Service, Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to India,
- Raimo Väyrynen, former President of the Academy of
- Alan West, former First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval
Staff, United Kingdom.
- Shirley Williams, member of the House of Lords, former
leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, United Kingdom.
- Kċre Willoch, former Prime Minister, Norway.
 The United States is poised to embark on programs to build new
nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines and strategic bombers at a cost of
more than $400 billion, and to extend the life of nuclear weapons deployed in
Europe at a cost of more than $10 billion. Russia reportedly plans to spend
1.9 trillion rubles, or $61 billion, over the next decade to modernize its
strategic nuclear forces, while very conservative estimates of the United
Kingdoms possible Trident renewal put the cost at £25 billion, or $38
The statement is issued in the names of the signatories and not on behalf
of the ELN organisation as a whole.
The statement and the press release is available for download in
English here or in
German here. The statement is also available in
Russian, Spanish and