Procedure : 2018/2752(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0360/2018

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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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))

Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Dario Tamburrano, Isabella Adinolfi, Rolandas Paksas on behalf of the EFDD 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 European Economic and Social Committee opinion of 31 May 2017(4) calling for a human-in-command approach to artificial intelligence and a ban on autonomous weapons,

–  having regard to the call by the Holy See for a ban on autonomous weapons(5)

–  having regard to relevant statements by the International Committee of the Red Cross(6),(7) and civil society initiatives like the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots(8), which represents 70 organisations in 30 countries including Human Rights Watch, Article36 and Amnesty International,

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

A.  whereas developments in artificial intelligence (AI) are influencing defence and opening up new areas of research which could lead to the creation of fully automated defence systems, including ones with lethal features;

B.  whereas these new weapon systems will raise a wide range of moral and ethical questions and also have industrial, R&D and military implications; whereas these technological systems will be able to target and engage any object without any kind of human supervision, i.e. in a fully autonomous way;

C.  whereas the development of such systems will open up a new field of R&D for the defence sector, leading to a gradual automation of weapon systems such as tanks, aircraft, drones and maritime vessels, with an impact on every sphere of modern warfare;

D.  whereas a fully automated defence system presents a serious problem of accountability for its actions, owing to the possible lack of human control;

E.  whereas the development of these systems will lead to a weakening or reassessment of international rules related to war and human rights;

F.  whereas various civil society actors (in the EU Member States and beyond) are already engaged in countering the development of ‘killer robots’; whereas these concerns are also shared by scientists and researchers active in this field;

G.  whereas further developments in the cyber domain could also weaken the security and safety of AI-based weapon systems;

1.  Recalls the need to open as a matter of urgency a comprehensive debate about the proliferation of lethal autonomous weapon systems, and stresses that any delay in this regard could increase their impact on international security;

2.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), the Member States and the Council to develop and adopt as a matter of urgency a common position on autonomous weapon systems, while ensuring that ethical and moral aspects are taken into due consideration; recalls the risk of developing weapon systems that are completely independent of human control of any kind, especially for the purpose of engaging targets;

3.  Urges the VP/HR, the Member States and the Council, also in coordination with foreign partners and international organisations, to develop an international ban on weapon 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 monitoring and strictly regulating research, development and production of weapon systems that lack human control, in particular with regard to critical functions such as target selection and engagement;

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



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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