The Project on European Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PENN) 

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Strengthening the Debate on European Security and Nuclear Weapons Objectives

PENN, the Project on European Nuclear Non-Proliferation, is an international network of research institutions, NGOs and individuals, set up by BITS in 1996. PENN members in Europe and the United States cooperate in influencing the political and public debates on nuclear weapons in Europe and other aspects of European security. With its activities PENN is seeking to attain four general goals: 

  • analysing NATO’s European nuclear position and strategies while stimulating the public debate about the future role of nuclear weapons in European security; 
  • promoting favourable conditions for nuclear disarmament in Europe; 
  • creating political hurdles for the creation of an independent European nuclear deterrent and a wider role for nuclear weapons in European deterrence policies in general; 
  • working towards positive European contributions to safeguard the non-proliferation regime and to strengthen nuclear disarmament. 

Policy Goals

PENN is pursuing a variety of concrete policy goals. PENN is in close contact with political decisionmakers and officials throughout Europe to promote the implementation of policies which support the project’s main objectives. Among the policy goals are: 

  • promoting a balanced mix of non-military and military crisis management capabilities in the EU; 
  • stimulating an informed discussion on the Common European Security and Defense Policy; 
  • encouraging the EU to adopt a comprehensive security concept which includes non-military aspects of security; 
  • a revision of NATO’s nuclear strategy and consultations between Russia and NATO on their nuclear policies; 
  • including sub-strategic nuclear weapons in arms control treaties; 
  • ending NATO‘s nuclear sharing arrangements; 
  • promoting an end to nuclear first-use policies; 
  • urging the EU to sign the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state; 
  • supporting the EU in taking a more active role in international disarmament negotiations. 

Topics for Political Intervention

PENN is seeking an active role in the ongoing political debate on the following European security issues: 

  • the development of a Common European Security and Defense Policy and the consequences for British and French nuclear weapons; 
  • the development of NATO’s Strategy and its influence on the nuclear doctrine; 
  • a possible closer co-operation between the EU and Russia on disarmament and security issues; 
  • the consequences of U.S.-Plans for a National Missile Defense Program for the future of disarmament and non-proliferation; 
  • the development of a Security Arrangement between the EU and NATO regulating the use of NATO planning capabilities and collective assets by the EU; 
  • the implementation of the Defense Capability Initative and its influence on the restructuring of national and multi-national forces. 

Creating Awareness

When it was established in 1996 PENN recognized the urgent need for substantial educational and information efforts to clarify the long-term political implications of decisions taken with regard to the European Integration process and European security in general. From the very beginning PENN put a lot of effort in informing politicians, NGOs, the media, and the general public on relevant political developments. 

This strategy has paid off. Security and defense issues are an important part of the public debate on European Integration. Public awareness concerning problems related to the role of nuclear weapons has risen significantly. 


PENN’s researchers are particularly active in monitoring current political events and developments. Monitoring activities are focused on three main topics: 

    NATO’s nuclear policy 
PENN is keeping close contact with politicians, researchers, journalists and NGOs to provide up-to-date information on NATO developments. PENN members are present at all major NATO events throughout the year maintaining regular contacts and interviewing officials. 
  • the NPT and the wider nuclear disarmament process 
PENN members were present at the NPT review conference in April/May this year. The PENN Research Report „Questions of Command and Control: NATO, Nuclear Sharing and the NPT" was published shortly before the conference and was widely used for preparation by UN-diplomats, journalists, and NGO representatives. PENN is also active in helping to prepare hearings in national parliaments on the NPT and disarmament policy. In Germany, for example, BITS is continuously involved in the work of preparatory committees. 
  • European Integration and a Common European Security and Defense Policy 
As the European Integration process is rapidly speeding up - especially in the field of security and defense - PENN resarchers will follow events closely. In the months before the EU-summit in Paris in December 2000, PENN will focus on the developing EU-NATO relationship in particular nuclear sharing arrangements and the yet to be defined Security Arrangement between NATO and the EU. It is one of PENN’s major task to stimulate the debate among NGOs on security and defense matters. 

Providing input into the political process

As a PENN member BITS has been very active in briefing cabinet members, government officials and members of parliament. Since the German Bundestag has moved to Berlin political decision makers have become more accessible. Reseachers at BITS are frequently providing information in informal meetings, briefings and discussions and have written several policy proposals for different parties and ministries. 

PENN members

Current members of the PENN core group are: 

  • The British American Security Information Council (BASIC) in London and Washington; 
  • The Centre for European Security and Disarmament (CESD) in Brussels; 
  • The International Security Information Service (ISIS) in Brussels; 
  • PENN-Nederlande in Utrecht and Amsterdam; 
  • The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) in Stockholm; 
  • Nej til Atomvapens in Oslo; 
  • Interdisziplinäre Arbeitsgruppe Naturwissenschaft, Technik und Sicherheit (IANUS) in Darmstadt; 
  • The Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security (BITS) in Berlin. 
Among the individuals lending their expertise to the work of the core group are: 
  • Malla Kantola, Finnish Committee of the 100; 
  • Dr. Georg Schöfbänker, Director of the Austrian Information Centre for Security Policy and Arms Control (AISA) Linz; 
  • Dr. Dimitri Trenin, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Center in Moscow; 
  • Andreas Zumach, freelance journalist in Geneva.