European Parliament calls on Council to take action on depleted uranium at UN
A fifth UN General Assembly on DU will be tabled this October at the First Committee. Each year the European Parliament provides recommendations to the EU's Council of Ministers on positions that EU member states should take during voting. This year the parliament has called on member states to develop a common EU position that better reflects the overwhelming and repeated calls by the parliament for a global moratorium on the weapons.
At present the EU is split on the topic, with DU users the UK and France opposed during UN votes - two of only four states worldwide to oppose the resolutions - while the rest of the EU votes in favour or abstains. While the number of EU states abstaining each time has been decreasing, the continued abstentions by the likes of Sweden and Denmark have been a source of frustration for natinal campaigns.
The parliament's recommendations will therefore be welcomed by campaigners, coming as they do just weeks after a resolution was passed which called for common EU position in favour of a ban on the weapons.
A group of MEPs, led by members of the parliament's Committee on Iraq have also recently submitted questions on DU to Cathy Ashton, the EU's High Representative on foreign affairs. Baroness Ashton is yet to answer the questions but we will report when she does so.
The recommendations on DU from the parliament were as follows:
"to support UNGA resolutions on depleted uranium weapons and to develop an EU Common Position that better reflects Parliament’s repeated calls for a precautionary global moratorium and the developing global consensus on the potential civilian health risks, complex post-conflict management burden and financial costs associated with their use;"
European Parliament recommendation to the Council of 2 April 2014 on the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly