Procedure : 2018/2752(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0359/2018

Texts tabled :


Debates :

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

Votes :

PV 12/09/2018 - 6.8
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

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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))

Geoffrey Van Orden, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Charles Tannock on behalf of the ECR 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, 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 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, 9-13 April 2018 and 27-31 August 2018,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the 2017 meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS),

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

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

A.  whereas there is no agreed definition of ‘lethal autonomous weapon systems’ (LAWS), and, in any case, systems such as automated, remotely operated or tele-operated systems are not generally considered as LAWS;

B.  whereas automated weapons systems have been successfully employed for years in a defensive role, protecting the lives of both civilians and military personnel;

C.  whereas there are unconfirmed reports about the experimental use of LAWS by the Russian forces in the conflict in eastern Ukraine;

D.  whereas technological advances in the future, especially in the area of artificial intelligence, may lead to the development of fully autonomous weapons systems capable of operating without any human control or input;

E.  whereas, in principle, human involvement and oversight are essential to any decision-making process that involves the use of lethal force against people;

F.  whereas international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, fully applies to all weapons systems and their operators, and compliance with international law is a key requirement that states must fulfil, particularly where the protection of civilian populations is concerned;

G.  whereas LAWS are the subject of deliberation and analysis within the Geneva Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS);

1.  Underlines the need to closely monitor new developments in LAWS and to seek the broadest possible international agreement restricting their use;

2.  Recalls that many automated weapons systems have been successfully used in a defensive role, saving the lives of military personnel and civilians during both armed conflicts and terrorist attacks;

3.  Warns that a prohibitive approach to LAWS may lead to loss of technological capability and of the ability to defend against such weapons in hostile hands;

4.  Highlights the need to include provisions regarding meaningful human control with regard to future developments of LAWS, and regular reviews with a view to addressing future and potential technological developments;

5.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Secretary-General of NATO.



Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0494.


OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 166.


OJ C 285, 29.8.2017, p. 110.

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