MEP: EU needs strategy on new military capabilities

Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), is concerned by the development of new military capabilities by European member states without clear goals or legal frameworks. This afternoon, the European Parliament will debate the use of armed drones. Schaake, "European member states are increasingly procuring or developing drones for military use. It needs to be crystal clear what we are going to use these weapons for and, above all, how we can make sure that that happens within the right legal and democratic framework." The European liberal group (ALDE), wants EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and the member states to formulate a common position on the military use of drones. Cyber Concerning cyber security and digital warfare, much is still unclear with regards to the development of a military offensive capability. "More and more member states are training so-called cyber soldiers to defend against cyber-attacks, but also carry them out. But before we continue on that path, we need clear answers to a number of crucial questions. What constitutes a cyber-attack? What is the difference between offensive and defensive online? How does the law-of-war work online and how do we deal with traditional concepts like responsibility and proportionality?" In the past, Schaake asked Ashton questions concerning this issue, but did not get a clear answer. NATO cooperation Today and tomorrow, NATO defence ministers meet in Brussels. The EU works in close cooperation with NATO, but the two organisations do not have exactly the same members. According to Schaake this makes the situation even more complicated and confusing. "Both the EU and NATO are trying to come up with rules for new ways of conducting warfare. But we need to clarify which rules should be applicable in each situation and especially how they relate to each other. For example, if NATO is working on offensive cyber, what does that mean for the cooperation within the EU on that issue, or vice-versa? To be able to define the future of our armed forces, we need the answer questions like this. Only then will we be able to use them in the right way to protect our open, free society. That will require both vision and a comprehensive strategy."