NATO ally Belgium’s Green Party uses Brexit rules to BLOCK export of critical nuclear weapons technology to UK
Belgium’s NATO-allied coalition of green parties uses Brexit rules to BLOCK export of critical nuclear weapons technology to Britain
- Export blocked due to ‘opposition to nuclear weapons and the arms industry’
- Concerns Arise Over Erosion Of Unity Among NATO Allies Amid Russia War
- “We should follow the example of our British allies,” says Belgian MP
NATO allies the UK and Belgium are at odds as Belgium’s Green party coalition is using Brexit rules to block the export of critical nuclear weapons technology to the UK.
The technology at the center of the dispute plays a vital role in maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent, and Belgium insists the UK needs an “export license” to obtain it after Brexit.
However, while both nations are NATO allies, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Georges Gilkinet, a member of the Ecolo party, a member of the Green coalition, blocked the license due to “opposition to nuclear weapons and the arms industry,” reported the Times. reported.
HMS Vigilant, carrying the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent, is seen on April 29, 2019 in Faslane, Scotland.
Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Georges Gilkinet speaks during a plenary session in the Federal Parliament in Brussels on October 27, 2022.
This is believed to have prompted the UK to warn that it will cancel a £515m arms order from the Belgian government unless the export license is cleared, and some within the Belgian government are concerned about the erosion of unity among the NATO members in the middle of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. .
The left-wing Ecolo party has also drawn criticism over the decision from within its own government, with the president of the MR party, also a coalition member, saying that Ecolo should “control itself.”
How many nuclear weapons does the UK have?
In March Boris Johnson moved to increase UK-held stocks of warheads, with the upper limit increased from 180 to 260.
Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent is currently carried by the Royal Navy’s four Vanguard Class submarines.
They will be succeeded by a new generation of four Dreadnought-class ships, also armed with Trident missiles from 2030.
The Vanguard class can carry up to 16 missiles, each armed with up to eight Trident warheads, meaning the 260-warhead ceiling would not allow them to be deployed all at once.
‘Refusing to sell equipment to Britain is the ultimate in dogmatic nonsense. It is not acceptable,’ said the Times.
He added that a Christian Democrat MP said: “This is all the more shocking given the UK’s ongoing military involvement in NATO.” . . and in particular in the Ukraine conflict where we should be following the example of our British allies.’
The technology Belgium is blocking is a specialized isostatic press used to handle nuclear waste, a piece of technology made solely by a company in Antwerp.
The UK Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) uses the press as part of its manufacture and maintenance of nuclear warheads.
According to the Times, a Royal Navy source said that “the continued challenge” to obtain information from the press “does not affect the continued deterrence at sea.”
The UK’s nuclear deterrent consists of the Trident nuclear missile system, carried by a fleet of Royal Navy submarines, including HMS Vigilant.
AWE, based in Aldermaston, Berkshire, supports and maintains Trident, the UK’s nuclear program which is based at HMNB Clyde in Faslane, Argyll and Bute.