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Friday, 19. July 2024

Europeans protest at nuclear weapon sites in Germany

Speech, Angelika Claußen, IPPNW Chairperson and European Vice-President

Büchel military base, September 5th, 2021:

From a peace and security policy perspective, the year 2021 has been particularly marked by two events: 

1. The entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in January 2021 and

2. The defeat of the USA as a world power in Afghanistan.

The entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a huge success story of the worldwide peace movement! The peace movement is a real success story. We, global civil society, in alliance with the countries of the global South and courageous, outstanding politicians from countries in Europe, from Austria and from Ireland, have achieved a nuclear ban. We expected resistance from the nuclear weapons states, as the TPNW is diametrically opposed to their interests!

Now it's Europe's turn! Nuclear sharing must end in Europe: in Germany, in Belgium, in the Netherlands and in Italy. We can also achieve this goal together if we are clever in our approach.

The first step is to call NATO's nuclear dogma, the dogma of nuclear deterrence, into question.

And this is where the second major event comes into play: the defeat of the world power USA in Afghanistan. It is now crystal clear that military-based security policy is extremely destructive. The military and the arms race, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, are completely unsuitable as means to meet the humanity’s challenges in times of climate crisis. The military itself is a climate killer.

Instead, we need a civil security and peace policy that implements the important steps towards a socio-ecological transformation in cooperation with other countries. Détente and cooperative security policies require drastic disarmament steps for climate justice.

The European peace movement is therefore putting nuclear disarmament in NATO on the agenda. Why does NATO need to use nuclear weapons at all?

Now is the time for nuclear sharing countries to take concrete steps together. “Nuke Free Europe” is the name of our joint campaign to create a dialogue between the peace movement and politicians on what a roadmap to end nuclear sharing in Europe could look like.

We are in the process of building our network in Western and Eastern Europe that includes Russia. Many NGOs and some willing politicians from European nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states are involved; ICAN, IPPNW, the IPB and the trade unions are also members.  

Our deadline for ending nuclear sharing is in five years. That is the time that the START treaty between the US and Russia has been extended. Talks have begun between experts from the two states with the aim of reducing military-related nuclear risks. But this is not enough for us.

Let's build the campaign for a nuclear weapons-free Europe together in all of our countries! A campaign for a new policy of détente in Europe that explicitly includes Russia.

Let us jointly expand the cooperative relations that have long since begun in the area of climate policy to the area of security and peace! Let us look to our strengths, to our successes.

A world free of nuclear weapons, stemming the climate crisis including climate justice and our right to life and health - all these goals belong together! That is what we are working for together here in Büchel!