Minister’s Declaration by the Foreign Ministers of the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden

Published

Minister’s Declaration at the occasion of the Conference "2020 Capturing Technology - Rethinking Arms Control“.

We, the Foreign Ministers of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Finland, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Sweden, convened today at the occasion of the conference “2020. Capturing Technology. Rethinking
Arms Control” to promote new and effective approaches to arms control that can contribute to international security and stability in the 21st century.

We are concerned by the unravelling of international arms control arrangements which have over the past decades been cornerstones of international and European security. We are mindful of the speed of technological developments in key areas such as artificial intelligence, biotech, cyber, missile technology and quantum computing, that add new dimensions and complexities to world security and future conflict scenarios.

While we recognize the great potential for human progress and economic growth inherent in the application of new technologies, as well as potential benefits for the verification of arms control arrangements, we are also aware of the mounting risks for international peace and stability created by the potential misuse of new technologies. We note with concern the growing risk of a destabilizing arms race between major military powers, which is exacerbated by the new military capabilities based on new technologies. In the framework of the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, we affirm that the European Union, acting as a community of values and as a security community for all EU citizens, must lay the foundations for peace and stability for future generations.

The European Union must equally defend its own founding values – human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights – as well as multilateralism and the rules based international order.

To these ends, the undersigned Foreign Ministers will work together to strengthen the role of the EU in promoting arms control for a new technological age by

  • renewing commitment to the goal of an effective global arms control architecture firmly anchored in international law, including human rights law and international humanitarian law, and multilateral decision-making,
  • enhancing our common understanding of the existing and potential risks as well as the benefits of the military use of new technologies,
  • advancing the development of effective arms control solutions that aim to mitigate the possible risks of the military use of new technologies while also utilising their potential to enhance the effectiveness of existing arms control arrangements, inter alia by providing more effective tools for verification,
  • reconfirming the responsibility of states to ensure that all development, deployment and use of new weapon systems is in line with international humanitarian law,
  • proposing a strategic EU process on the responsible military use of new technologies including artificial intelligence and on guidance to defence related innovation,
  • developing effective global multi-stakeholder formats involving academia and industry to ensure the principles of responsible innovation are respected by research, development and commerce and building on the work of the European Union’s Global Tech Panel,
  • considering improved measures preventing proliferation of sensitive new technologies to illegitimate non-state actors such as terrorists,
  • harnessing the full potential of European diplomacy in taking forward multilateral arms control discussions focusing on the military use of new technologies,
  • supporting independent research including by the European Non Proliferation Consortium analyzing the risks and opportunities of the military use of new technologies for international security and stability and developing new and effective arms control solutions.