Motion for a resolution - B8-0309/2018Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on autonomous weapon systems

5.9.2018 - (2018/2752(RSP))

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

Michael Gahler, Cristian Dan Preda, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez‑Neyra, David McAllister, Sandra Kalniete, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Elmar Brok, Tunne Kelam, Eduard Kukan, Julia Pitera, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski on behalf of the PPE Group

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

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


European Parliament resolution on autonomous weapon systems


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its study of 3 May 2013 on the human rights implications of the usage of drones and unmanned robots in warfare,

–  having regard to its various positions, recommendations and resolutions, 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 the use of armed drones[3],

–  having regard to the EU statements on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) to the Group of Governmental Experts of the parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, of 13-17 November 2017 and 9-13 April 2018,

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

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

A.  whereas the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons aims to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately;

B.  whereas autonomous weapon systems are the subject of deliberation and analysis within the Group of Governmental Experts of the parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva;

C.  whereas fully autonomous lethal weapon systems do not yet exist; whereas non-autonomous systems such as automated, remotely operated and teleoperated systems should not be considered LAWS;

D.  whereas human involvement and oversight is central to the lethal decision-making process, since it is they who remain accountable for decisions concerning life and death;

E.  whereas international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, fully applies to all weapon systems and their operators, and whereas compliance with international law is a key requirement that states must fulfil, particularly when it comes to upholding principles such as protecting the civilian population, or taking precautions in attack;

F.  whereas a lethal weapon system should be considered autonomous if it is specifically designed to be able to modify its own in-built logic, to disregard its original tasking and to modify its rules of engagement without human interaction;

G.  whereas human control of a lethal weapon system should be considered meaningful if it enables the human operator to modify the system’s tasking or to terminate an engagement in order to comply with international humanitarian law;

1.  Underlines the need to tackle the potential challenges that LAWS may pose at an international level, while recalling, however, that these systems have not yet been fully developed; invites the Member States to work towards reaching a unified position in this regard;

2.  Underscores the need, in view of the different approaches of the states parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, to establish a preliminary working definition of LAWS and of meaningful human control, as such a provision by the EU could help to set and shape acceptable international standards and limitations to such future systems;

3.  Calls, in the light of the above, on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Member States and the Council to develop and adopt a common position on autonomous weapon systems; highlights the need to include provisions on meaningful human control with regard to the use of lethal force;

4.  Underlines the fact that none of the weapons or weapon systems currently operated by EU forces or those of its allies are LAWS; recalls that weapons and weapon systems specifically designed to defend own platforms, forces and populations against highly dynamic threats such as hostile missiles, munitions and aircraft are not considered LAWS; emphasises that engagement decisions against human-inhabited aircraft should be taken by human operators;

5.  Warns that decisions by the European Union and its Member States to introduce too many self-imposed restrictions with regard to potential LAWS risks losing a technological edge and ceding possible advantages on the battlefield of the future, should other major international players intend not to abide by similar restrictive rules;

6.  Insists that all operators of future autonomous weapon systems should undergo rigorous and comprehensive training on the legal, ethical and moral aspects of operating such systems and the potential consequences thereof;

7.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the parliaments and governments of the Member States and the Secretary General of NATO.

Last updated: 6 September 2018
Legal notice - Privacy policy