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EUobserver: MEPs delay debate about 'killer robots'

03.07.2018

The Online Newspaper "EUobserver" reports on the European Defence Fund and the financing of lethal autonomous weapons systems (euobserver.com/science/142261):

"The European Parliament has postponed a debate on autonomous weapons systems, known colloquially as 'killer robots' [...] A spokesman for far-left GUE/NGL told EUobserver it was the second time a debate on killer robots was postponed.

The matter of autonomous weapons systems is all the more relevant this week, because the parliament is voting on a €500m EU fund that will be available for military consortia in 2019 and 2020. Originally, a majority of the parliament had adopted an amendment to the fund's legal basis, saying that certain categories of military development should be excluded from the fund's eligibility. [...] 

However, in negotiations with the European Commission and the Council of the EU – which represents national government – the amendment was scrapped. Left-wing German MEP Sabine Loesing said in an emailed statement that allowing the financing of lethal autonomous weapons systems was "scandalous". She noted that the MEP that negotiated on behalf of the parliament, centre-right French MEP Francoise Grossetete (EPP) "disregarded the EP's negotiating mandate". "We strictly reject the development, proliferation and promotion of such autonomous weapons and will therefore vote against the EDIDP," said Loesing, referring to the acronym of the fund's official name, the European Defence Industrial Development Programme."

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