Procedure : 2018/2752(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0361/2018

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 11/09/2018 - 15
CRE 11/09/2018 - 15

Votes :

PV 12/09/2018 - 6.8

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0308/2018

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on autonomous weapon systems (2018/2752(RSP))

Sabine Lösing, Patrick Le Hyaric, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Paloma López Bermejo, Ángela Vallina, Merja Kyllönen, Nikolaos Chountis, Dennis de Jong, Anne‑Marie Mineur on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on autonomous weapon systems (2018/2752(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its study of 3 May 2013 entitled ‘Human rights implications of the usage of drones and unmanned robots in warfare’,

–  having regard to its various positions, recommendations and resolutions calling for a ban on autonomous weapon systems. such as the mandate to start negotiations adopted in plenary on 13 March 2018 with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, its resolution of 13 December 2017 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2016 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(1), its recommendation to the Council of 7 July 2016 on the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly(2) and its resolution of 27 February 2014 on armed drones(3),

–  having regard to the report of 9 April 2013 of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns (UN A/HRC/23/4),

–  having regard to the EU statements on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) made to the Group of Governmental Experts of the parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, at its meetings of 13-17 November 2017(4), 9-13 April 2018(5) and 27-31 August 2018(6),

–  having regard to the European Economic and Social Committee opinion of 31 May 2017(7) calling for a human-in-command approach to AI and a ban on autonomous weapons,

–  having regard to the contributions(8) made by different states, including EU Member States, prior to the 2017 and 2018 meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts,

–  having regard to the open letter of July 2015(9) signed by over 3 000 artificial intelligence and robotics researchers and to that of 21 August 2017(10) signed by 116 founders of leading robotics and artificial intelligence companies,

–  having regard to the statements by the International Committee of the Red Cross(11) and civil society initiatives such as the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots(12), which represents 70 organisations in 30 countries, including Human Rights Watch, Article 36 and Amnesty International,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas some countries and industries are reportedly developing weapons systems with various autonomous functions;

B.  whereas lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) have the potential to fundamentally change warfare, dramatically accelerate the speed and sequence of hostile military interactions and trigger unprecedented arms races;

C.  whereas the use of LAWS raises fundamental ethical and legal questions over human control, in particular with regard to critical functions such as target selection and engagement;

D.  whereas the use of LAWS also raises key questions about the applicability of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and European norms and values with regard to future military actions;

E.  whereas in August 2017 116 founders of leading robotics and artificial intelligence companies sent an open letter to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons calling on governments to ‘prevent an arms race in these weapons’ and ‘avoid the destabilising effects of these technologies’; whereas this letter also stated that ‘lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare’ which ‘will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend’;

1.  Stresses the need for urgent action to prevent the proliferation of LAWS; underlines that common action at EU level has the potential to strengthen the EU as a security provider by assuring its impact on a key military and security challenge;

2.  Calls on the Commission Vice-President / High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), the Member States and the Council to urgently develop and adopt a common position on autonomous weapon systems that ensures human control over the critical functions during deployment; regrets that the meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts of the parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems held in Geneva from 27 to 31 August 2018 did not end with a clear statement on a total ban on autonomous weapons;

3.  Deeply regrets that some Member States, such as France and Germany, do not support and are not working towards the strict and total prohibition of autonomous weapons;

4.  Urges the VP/HR, the Member States and the Council to work towards an international ban on weapons systems that lack meaningful human control in the critical function of selecting and engaging targets, as requested by Parliament on various occasions; stresses the key importance of also preventing research into and development and production of weapons systems which lack human control, in particular with regard to critical functions such as target selection and engagement;

5.  Recalls its position of 13 March 2018 on the Regulation on the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, in particular Article 6 thereof (eligible actions), and underlines its willingness to adopt a similar position in the context of the upcoming defence research programme, the defence industrial development programme and other relevant features of the post-2020 European Defence Fund;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the European External Action Service, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.



Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0494.


OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 166.


OJ C 285, 29.8.2017, p. 110.










Last updated: 6 September 2018Legal notice