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Parliamentary questions
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10 November 2014
Question for written answer E-008990-14
to the Commission
Rule 130
Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE) , Barbara Lochbihler (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  EU funding of drones research for civilian and military use
 Answer in writing 

Despite rules prohibiting EU research grants to fund military projects under Horizon 2020 or the Seventh Framework Programme schemes, the ‘dual use’ — civilian and military — of drone technologies allows defence companies to benefit from EU grants. Thus, the EU has spent over EUR 315 million on developing drone technology, of which almost EUR 120 million is allocated to security research projects.

Large companies with offices in the UK and Germany such as Thales and Selex have therefore received EU funds for projects with strong lethal potential. Thales-designed British reconnaissance drones, for example, may be weaponised in the future, according to British Army plans. Used outside of an armed conflict, the lethal use of such drones almost systematically leads to violations of international law.

1. The Council has underlined the importance of stimulating dual-use research. How does the Commission intend to ensure, therefore, that funding for drone technology is used for civilian and not military applications?

2. Does the preliminary ethical review of funding in Horizon 2020 consider the probable ‘dual use’ of drone technologies and possible use of these weapons for illegal extrajudicial killings?

3. Has the Commission taken steps to better inform Parliament about the use of EU funds for all research projects associated with drones?

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