1. A European Security Strategy "A Secure Europe in a better world" was adopted on 12 December 2003 by the European Council and updated in December 2008. The European Security Strategy enunciates five key challenges to be faced by the EU: Terrorism, Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), regional conflicts, State failure and organised crime. The proliferation of WMD is defined as potentially the greatest threat to European security. The consequences of the illicit manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) are central to the other four challenges defined in the European Security Strategy.
2. In parallel, on 12 December 2003, the European Council adopted a Strategy against the proliferation of WMD hich states that WMD and missile proliferation put at risk the security of EU Member States, their people and their interests around the world. The EU must act with resolve, using all instruments and policies at its disposal. The ultimate objective is to prevent, deter, halt and where possible, eliminate WMD proliferation programmes of concern worldwide.
3. On 15-16 December 2005, the European Council adopted a Strategy to combat illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition . The EU SALW Strategy is a comprehensive document that gives the combined response needed to overcome the threats posed by the illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition. The EU SALW strategy exploits fully the means available to the EU at multilateral and regional levels, within the European Union and in the EU's bilateral relations.