Euratom: it is time to change
Civil society demands abolition of the 1957 Treaty that
created the European Atomic Energy Community.
The debate about the future of Europe is underway. In 2004, European leaders will conclude a new political settlement for a much larger Union. Now is the correct time to modernise Europe's founding treaties. The new constitution must reflect the prevailing values of European citizens today, and not the values that are left over from an earlier era.
There have been many changes in the world since the Treaties of Rome in 1957. Of the two agreements in that year, the Treaty on the European Economic Community has been revised many times to reflect changing circumstances, but the Treaty on the Atomic Energy Community - commonly referred to as Euratom - remains effectively unaltered.
The Euratom Treaty is never set to expire. This is in heavy contrast to the 1952 agreement on coal and steel which expired earlier this year, leaving Euratom as the only energy specific stand alone Treaty. Euratom's main "task" is to promote the "speedy establishment and growth of nuclear industries" (Article 1). Despite long efforts to liberalise European energy markets, no other energy option now retains such special status. It is a situation that cannot continue.
Amongst the fifteen member states of the European Union today, seven states have never adopted nuclear power and a further four states have decided to stop using it. Just four of the member states currently want to keep the nuclear option. European public opinion does not support the special treatment of nuclear power.
The organisations listed below, representing a large cross-section of European civil society, call on our political representatives in the 'Convention on the Future of Europe' and in the other European institutions, to adopt the following objectives forthwith:
1. That the Euratom Treaty looses its special 'top-level' status; that the Treaty's promotion of the nuclear industry, including for example by making loans, comes to an end; and that in future all energy options are given equal treatment based on the full internalisation of associated costs;
2. Therefore that the Convention proposes to the forthcoming
Inter-Governmental Conference that the Euratom Treaty in its current form comes to an end and that nuclear safety issues are dealt with either through the general treaties or in the new constitution.
3. That any new, revised or consolidated European agreement relating to the nuclear energy sector should be solely about safeguarding the health and safety of the public, the protection of the environment and the physical security of nuclear materials;
4. That the new European constitutional settlement provides a guarantee that all decisions affecting energy matters are taken under the principles of democratic accountability and control, particularly co-decision making with the European Parliament, and where there is public scrutiny through open, transparent and timely access to information and procedures;
5. That any new, revised or consolidated European agreement relating to the energy sector integrates the principle of sustainable development as an overarching goal and therefore gives special attention to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
6. That the European Commission stops all proposals that aim to give new and increased regulatory powers to Euratom until the above mentioned changes have taken place.
Signed and supported by:
[Organisations listed here.]
For more information: Friends of the Earth Europe
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