A nuclear weapons free Europe
The world stands at a crossroads. It is time for Europe to make strategic choices in facing existential threats. For two consecutive years, the Bulletin for Atomic Scientist have placed the Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight. Never has this symbolic clock been closer to a possible nuclear and climate nightmare. Nuclear weapon states are investing heavily in new nuclear weapons. The US wants to deploy new B61-12 nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we must work together to overcome the two existential threats of the 21 st century: nuclear war and global warming. Increased military expenditure reduces investment in health and aged care, social protection and green job creation, while extensive military exercises and operations create major carbon emissions, driving us closer to extinction in more ways than one.
For years the people of Europe have expressed their desire to be nuclear-weapon-free, for example by calling for the removal of US nuclear weapons. Now they are pushing for their governments to ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). According to recent online surveys in six countries, between 77% and 89% of the population want their countries to join the TPNW. We must work together in the light of an understanding that all lives on the planet are interwoven, rethink what we mean by protection, redefine ideas of defence and develop towards a ‘common security’ with a conversion process that protects skills, wages and employment. A nuclear weapon free Europe would be the most important step in the transition to a civil and shared security, to a disarmed Europe.
We call on all citizens to organize against our possible extinction and to fight for a just, green and peaceful Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals, free of nuclear weapons, with security for all provided through other means. The situation is urgent. As the risks of nuclear confrontation grow in Europe, through the Middle East, India/Pakistan, the Pacific and the Korean peninsula, Europe must take a stand.
We appeal to everyone in Europe to act and to take part in a European month of action – September 2021. We ask health care and social organisations, trade unions, environmental, youth and woman’s movements, north-south and political organizations, people of all faiths and persuasions to join, endorse, promote and support the appeal for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Europe. We call on European governments to:
- end the modernization of nuclear weapons
- end nuclear sharing
- sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)