Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and seeking their eventual abolition have long been official objectives of the international community. Who would not want to prevent more states from obtaining nuclear weapons? Who would oppose the goal of a world free of them?
The process of determining noncompliance is an important aspect of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system, as well as the only established mechanism for determining noncompliance with the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) itself. Noncompliance with an NPT safeguards agreement constitutes violation of Article III of the NPT, the obligation to accept safeguards on all nuclear material, and, depending on the circumstances, possibly a violation of Article II, the obligation not to acquire nuclear weapons.
Today, the European Commission proposes to strengthen controls on exports of certain goods and technologies that – in addition to legitimate civilian applications – may also be misused for severe human rights violations, terrorist acts or the development of weapons of mass destruction. A main element of today's proposal is a new "human security" dimension in export controls, to prevent human rights violations associated with certain cyber-surveillance technologies. Furthermore, the proposal simplifies and harmonises the existing export control rules, in order to save time and money for EU exporters and national authorities. These export controls reflect the EU's commitment to international peace and security.
The principal weakness of today’s nonproliferation regime is enforcement. Specifically, the international community seems unable to authorize and implement quick and robust action when a state breaks the rules. When the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finds a state in non-compliance with its safeguards obligations, the responsibility for finding an appropriate response falls largely on the United Nations Security Council.