Procedure : 2018/2752(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0362/2018

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))

Ana Gomes, Arne Lietz, Clare Moody, Victor Boştinaru, Knut Fleckenstein on behalf of the S&D Group

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

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Title V, Articles 21 and 21.2(c) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to the Martens Clause included in Protocol 1 of 1977 additional to the Geneva Conventions,

–  having regard to Part IV of the UN 2018 Agenda for Disarmament, entitled ‘Securing Our Common Future’(1),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 3 July 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Defence Industrial Development Programme(2), its resolution of 13 December 2017 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2016(3) and the EU policy on the matter, and its resolution of 27 February 2014 on the use of armed drones(4),

–  having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 5 July 2018 on the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 with recommendations to the Commission on civil law rules on robotics(6),

–  having regard to its 2013 study entitled ‘Human rights implications of the usage of drones and unmanned robots in warfare’ and its 2017 study entitled ‘Towards an EU common position on the use of armed drones’,

–  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 9-13 April(7) and 27-31 August 2018(8) and to the summary of the discussions at those meetings,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 31 May 2017 on Artificial Intelligence(9), which called for a ban on autonomous weapons,

–  having regard to the open letter of 28 July 2015 on Artificial Intelligence(10) signed by over 3 900 AI and robotics researchers, which calls for a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control, the open letter of 21 August 2017(11) signed by 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countries, which calls for the prevention of an arms race in LAWS, and the Lethal Autonomous Weapons Pledge signed by 240 organisations and 3 049 individuals pledging never to participate in or support the development and manufacture of, trade in or use of lethal autonomous weapons(12),

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

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

A.  whereas EU policies and actions are guided by the principles of human rights and respect for human dignity, the principles of the UN Charter and international law; whereas these principles should be applied in order to preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security;

B.  whereas emerging technologies not covered by international law should be judged against the principle of humanity and the dictates of public conscience;

C.  whereas endowing machines with the discretion and power to end human life raises strong legal, ethical and moral issues; whereas machines and robots cannot make human-like decisions involving the legal principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution;

D.  whereas the potential use of LAWS raises questions about the applicability of and respect for international human rights and humanitarian law; whereas humans should be kept in control of weapons and remain accountable for the use of lethal force and for decisions over life and death;

E.  whereas Parliament has repeatedly called for the urgent development and adoption of a common position on autonomous weapon systems, for a ban on the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons enabling strikes to be carried out without meaningful human intervention, and for a start to effective negotiations for their prohibition;

F.  whereas a growing number of states have called for a preventative prohibition on LAWS and a moratorium on the use and production of such autonomous systems;

G.  whereas scientists, engineers, robotics and AI researchers and entrepreneurs have been raising their voices against a military AI arms race and emphasising the dangers posed by the weaponisation of AI and autonomous systems;

1.  Recalls the ambition of the EU to be a global actor for peace, and calls for the expansion of its role in global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, and for its actions and policies to strive for the maintenance of international peace and security, ensuring respect for international humanitarian and human rights law and the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure;

2.  Underlines the need for an internationally agreed working definition of LAWS, and calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), the Member States and the European Council to adopt a common position on autonomous weapon systems that ensures meaningful human control over the critical functions of weapon systems, including during deployment, ahead of the meeting of the parties to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in November 2018; demands the start of international negotiations for a legally binding instrument that would prohibit fully autonomous weapons;

3.  Reaffirms its support for the work of the Group of Governmental Experts of the parties to the CCW on LAWS, which remains the relevant international forum for discussion and negotiation on the societal, ethical and legal challenges posed by autonomous weapon systems; encourages the UN to foster dialogue among Member States, researchers, academics, civil society humanitarian actors and the private sector so as to build inclusive policy-making processes for new international provisions in order to prevent the development, use and proliferation of LAWS; calls for all existing multilateral efforts to be accelerated so that normative and regulatory frameworks are not outpaced by technological developments and new methods of warfare;

4.  Recalls its position on a ban on the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons enabling strikes to be carried out without meaningful human intervention;

5.  Underlines the non-eligibility of products or technologies whose use, development or production is prohibited by international law under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme; stresses the need, until a legally binding international instrument is adopted, for a preventive ban on research into defence products and technologies that are specifically designed to carry out lethal strikes without human control over engagement decisions;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the Member States, NATO and the United Nations.



Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0275.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0494).


OJ C 285, 29.8.2017, p. 110.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0312.


OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 239.


(8)$FILE/2018_GGE%20LAWS%202_6a_European%20Union%201.pdf &$FILE/2018_GGE%20LAWS%202_6a_European%20Union%202.pdf





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