European Parliament: EU should develop common position in favour of depleted uranium ban
The cross-party resolution on the situation in Iraq (P7_TA(2014)0171), which was adopted in late February, called for:
…the EU to develop a common position in favour of prohibiting the use of depleted uranium munitions and to offer support for the treatment of victims, including victims of chemical weapons, and for possible efforts to decontaminate affected areas.
The resolution’s call for more support for communities affected by DU contamination is very welcome, as its call for decontamination efforts. A report published last year by the Dutch peace organisation PAX shed more light on the extent of DU contamination in Iraq, which remains problematic a decade after the 2003 conflict.
EU member states remain divided on DU during voting at the UN General Assembly. A bloc comprising Germany, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Italy and others vote in favour; the UK and France, both DU users, consistently oppose; while a shrinking bloc that includes Sweden, Denmark, Spain and Portugal continue to abstain.
The parliament clearly believes that the EU should play a greater role in the debate but without a clearer consensus for action from its members this may remain difficult.
The resolution was a composite text that merged motions from the ALDE, ECR, S&D, PPE and Verts/ALE political groups. The resolution is the fifth passed by the European Parliament involving DU weapons, which includes 2008’s near unanimous resolution in favour of a moratorium. That this resolution passed in a parliament with a greater centre-right balance than in 2008 reflects the cross party nature of the topic.
This was further in evidence in the written question submitted by members of the European Parliament’s Iraq Committee to the EU High Representative on foreign affairs the day after the resolution was passed. The questions have not been answered at the time of writing.