Germany may sign and ratify or accede to the TPNW, but will have to make changes to its policies and practices to become compliant. At the 1MSP, the German delegation said that ‘Germany is committed to engaging in constructive dialogue and exploring opportunities for practical cooperation,’ noting that ‘supporters and sceptics of the TPNW can work shoulder to shoulder’ to make progress in reducing global nuclear stockpiles and preventing proliferation. It also said that as a NATO member, and ‘confronted with an openly aggressive Russia’, Germany could not accede to the TPNW, as this ‘would collide with our membership in NATO including nuclear deterrence’.1
At the Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in August 2022, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, said that Germany participated in the 1MSP because it wanted ‘to improve dialogue and cooperate in addressing the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons – in the field of victim assistance or the remediation of areas contaminated by nuclear testing’. She also described Germany’s participation in the 1MSP as part of ‘an effort to overcome polarisation – and give equal weight to the views of countries of the North and the South in the NPT community’.2
In the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in October 2022, Germany said that observing the 1MSP ‘did not and will not' modify its legal position on the TPNW, which it does not deem 'to be an appropriate framework to make tangible progress on nuclear disarmament.'3
- Germany should renounce the possession and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, end the hosting of foreign nuclear weapons on its territory, and ensure that nuclear weapons do not have a role in its defence posture.
- Germany should comply with its existing obligation under Article VI of the NPT and pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament.
- Germany should urgently adhere to the TPNW. Until it is in a position to do so, it should welcome the TPNW as a valuable component in the global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture, work with the Treaty's states parties on practical steps towards disarmament, and attend the meetings of states parties as an observer.