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Europe can't be safe with nuclear warheads

23 September 2021

Europe can't be safe with nuclear warheads

Foto: SP

As of next year, new American nuclear weapons will be placed in Volkel. At the Volkel airbase, Dutch pilots are now ready to use the B-61-11 with their F-16s. The F-16s and its bombs are being replaced. Those bombs are for the F-35, which are equipped with the new B-61-12.

That was the reason to protest at the airbase of Volkel on Saturday 25 September against the renewal of the Dutch nuclear weapons task. This operation was part of an international movement. The same nuclear weapons are also expected for the air forces of those countries in Germany (at the airbase in Büchel), Italy (Aviano) and Belgium (Kleine Brogel). The campaign had already started in Germany at the beginning of September and similar actions have been held in Belgium and Italy. The air forces of these countries are also held responsible for training and, if necessary, using this weapon.

The high tension regarding nuclear weapons of the past 75 years seemed to have decreased but has never gone away. Not only have tensions recently risen worldwide over North Korea's missiles and nuclear weapons, but that tension also applies to Iran which enriches uranium allowing the possibility for the production of atomic bombs. The US and Russia are also making new plans for nuclear weapons. This has consequences for Europe and the Netherlands in particular.

The tensions of recent years in Europe are once again taking on the character of a Cold War, with major consequences for the security situation. After the cancellation of many treaties in favour of arms control, such as the INF treaty, makes this very unsettling. NATO says it is aware of the major risks associated with nuclear weapons. It says it wants to work on nuclear disarmament. Which is the wish of the vast majority of the European population according to every survey. Therefore, it's inconsistent that new nuclear weapons are planned with this professed intention.

The first thing that is necessary now is to be fully open about these plans and have a democratic debate. The Dutch government and NATO must disclose what the exact plans are. We only know this from American scientists who study the fine print. The Dutch parliament must be able to debate and decide on these nuclear weapons plans. It would be unheard of for these bombs to be placed in silence.

We have repeatedly advocated for nuclear disarmament for the past 20 years. Not just by the Netherlands, but by all nuclear weapon countries. The government must clarify as soon as possible what the plans are for the replacement of the B-61. It must present its plan to the parliament.
Based on the rising tension regarding and with nuclear weapons around the world, it is essential to make nuclear disarmament a political priority. We must get rid of the uninterrupted threat of nuclear war. Europe cannot be safe without nuclear disarmament. It is crucial to work towards a nuclear-weapon-free Europe through the aforementioned steps.

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