EU Statement on new technologies

Delivered at the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, 23 September 2020.

Madame Chairperson, the European Union and its Member States warmly welcome the speakers to the Forum for Security Co-operation and thank them for their interesting presentations. We commend the German FSC Chairmanship for putting this intellectually challenging question on the agenda of today’s meeting.

The increasing speed of technological and scientific innovation is undeniably having an enormous impact on our societies and its repercussions are felt in almost every aspect of our lives. These rapid advances of science and technology can also be used for military applications. We should also bear in mind that new technologies can have a dual-use potential. While remaining vigilant, it is also important not to hamper progress in legitimate research and development activities.

The scope of our debate is potentially very large. It can refer to artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnologies, missile-technologies, cyberspace and outer space – and the list is far from being exhausted. The discussion today offers an opportunity to exchange views not only on these emerging technologies but also on their potential impact on politico-military aspects of security. The use of new military technologies can create challenges and may influence threat perceptions. This is of particular importance to our Organization and to our instruments developed to ensure dialogue, transparency and confidence building across the OSCE.

Madame Chairperson, we welcome the steady progress made over the past few years within relevant fora, such as the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems. We recognise the attention being paid by some States to the issue of new technologies in other international fora.

We remain strong supporters of the full implementation and a substantial modernisation of the Vienna Document and welcome proposals on strengthening its provisions. We see benefit in voluntary briefings in the FSC, which also aim to increase transparency, dispel concerns and strengthen confidence between OSCE participating States. We encourage the principle of reciprocity and note that these briefings cannot be a substitute for mandatory transparency and reporting measures. Furthermore, we recall the Hamburg Declaration: Together we will work towards creating an environment conducive to reinvigorating arms control and CSBMs in Europe. We also recall the strong commitment of the OSCE participating States to full implementation and further development of arms control agreements, which is essential for enhancing military and political stability within the OSCE area.

Thank you.