Towards an EU common position on the use of armed drones

15-06-2017

Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones. This publication, which was requested by the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee, includes a briefing with specific recommendations, drawn up from a legal standpoint, on the elements that a future Council decision on the use of armed drones should include. This publication also includes a report on the workshop held on 22 March 2017, at which a first draft of the briefing was presented and discussed with Members and stakeholders. The discussion at the workshop confirmed that there was broad support in Parliament for the development of common European principles governing the use of armed drones, not least in view of the emergence of new risks from non-state actors and the EU’s commitment to enhancing security and defence cooperation. While there is currently no agreement between Member States to pursue the matter at EU level, the workshop debate drew attention to the common rules on exports of armed drones and drone technology that already exist. Furthermore, progress has been made recently in agreeing a joint EU position regarding the related matter of lethal autonomous weapons.

Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones. This publication, which was requested by the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee, includes a briefing with specific recommendations, drawn up from a legal standpoint, on the elements that a future Council decision on the use of armed drones should include. This publication also includes a report on the workshop held on 22 March 2017, at which a first draft of the briefing was presented and discussed with Members and stakeholders. The discussion at the workshop confirmed that there was broad support in Parliament for the development of common European principles governing the use of armed drones, not least in view of the emergence of new risks from non-state actors and the EU’s commitment to enhancing security and defence cooperation. While there is currently no agreement between Member States to pursue the matter at EU level, the workshop debate drew attention to the common rules on exports of armed drones and drone technology that already exist. Furthermore, progress has been made recently in agreeing a joint EU position regarding the related matter of lethal autonomous weapons.