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Review of dual-use export controls

26-11-2019

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous' EU list for cyber-surveillance technology featuring items that are not (yet) subject to multilateral export control. Moreover, the proposal seeks to introduce human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Fifth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

EU-Japan cooperation on global and regional security - a litmus test for the EU's role as a global player?

11-06-2018

Within their partnership, the EU and Japan recognise each other as being essentially civilian (or ‘soft’) powers that share the same values and act in the international arena solely with diplomatic means. However, the evolution of the threats they face and the unpredictability now shown by their strategic ally, the US, have led both the EU and Japan to reconsider the option of ‘soft power-only’ for ensuring their security. They have both begun the — albeit long —process of seeking greater strategic ...

Within their partnership, the EU and Japan recognise each other as being essentially civilian (or ‘soft’) powers that share the same values and act in the international arena solely with diplomatic means. However, the evolution of the threats they face and the unpredictability now shown by their strategic ally, the US, have led both the EU and Japan to reconsider the option of ‘soft power-only’ for ensuring their security. They have both begun the — albeit long —process of seeking greater strategic autonomy. The EU’s Global Strategy adopted in 2016 aims clearly to ‘develop a more politically rounded approach to Asia, seeking to make greater practical contributions to Asian security’. Like the EU, Japan has identified ‘a multipolar age’ in which the rules-based international order that has allowed it to prosper is increasingly threatened. In line with its security-related reforms, Japan has decided to ‘take greater responsibilities and roles than before in order to maintain the existing international order’ and resolve a number of global issues. The EU and Japan may increase their cooperation at the global and strategic level and in tackling these challenges at the regional or local level. The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the EU and Japan will provide opportunities for such cooperation, which should also be open to others. This is an opportunity for the EU to demonstrate that it is a consistent and reliable partner, and a true ‘global player’. The Council Conclusions of 28 May 2018 on ‘Enhanced security cooperation in and with Asia’ are a step in this direction but need to be translated into action.

North Korea’s nuclear summitry [What Think Tanks are thinking]

04-06-2018

The US President, Donald Trump, and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, are preparing for a high-stakes summit on the latter country’s nuclear programme, following Trump’s decision on 1 June to revive the meeting after having cancelled it the previous week. At the summit, due to take place on 12 June in Singapore, Trump is expected to press for denuclearisation of North Korea in exchange for easing economic sanctions and, possibly some aid. The main sticking point lies on the meaning the two countries ...

The US President, Donald Trump, and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, are preparing for a high-stakes summit on the latter country’s nuclear programme, following Trump’s decision on 1 June to revive the meeting after having cancelled it the previous week. At the summit, due to take place on 12 June in Singapore, Trump is expected to press for denuclearisation of North Korea in exchange for easing economic sanctions and, possibly some aid. The main sticking point lies on the meaning the two countries attribute to the word 'denuclearisation'. Pyongyang, after years of isolation, is engaged in an unprecedented series of high-level meetings with South Korea, China and Russia. This note offers links to reports and commentaries from some major international think-tanks and research institutes on the North Korean nuclear programme. More reports on the topic can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking’, published in September 2017. Credit photo: © jpldesigns / Fotolia

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, February I 2018

09-02-2018

Highlights of the session included the second in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković; and the debate and vote on the composition of the European Parliament after Brexit. The European Commission also made statements on fair taxation packages and the manipulation of scientific research by multinationals in the wake of revelations on emission tests on monkeys and humans by the German car industry. Parliament decided to set up a ...

Highlights of the session included the second in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković; and the debate and vote on the composition of the European Parliament after Brexit. The European Commission also made statements on fair taxation packages and the manipulation of scientific research by multinationals in the wake of revelations on emission tests on monkeys and humans by the German car industry. Parliament decided to set up a special committee on the Union's authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST). Parliament adopted agreed first-reading positions on, inter alia, a regulation on ending unjustified geo-blocking and two regulations on EU external action funds – among the priorities for 2018 in the Joint Declaration agreed by the Council, Commission and Parliament.

Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons ─ the 'Ban Treaty'

17-01-2018

On 7 July 2017, the United Nations (UN) conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the Ban Treaty), by 122 votes to 1, with one abstention. The treaty will come into force once 50 states have ratified it; so far it has been signed by 56 states and ratified by three. The adoption of the Ban Treaty has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative that has gained ground in recent years to rid the ...

On 7 July 2017, the United Nations (UN) conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the Ban Treaty), by 122 votes to 1, with one abstention. The treaty will come into force once 50 states have ratified it; so far it has been signed by 56 states and ratified by three. The adoption of the Ban Treaty has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative that has gained ground in recent years to rid the world of the most destructive weapon known to humankind. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which spearheaded these efforts, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. However, opponents of the Ban Treaty argue that the conditions for disarmament do not currently exist and that promoters of the Ban Treaty fail to recognise this. They also point to weaknesses in the drafting of the treaty, and to the danger of undermining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), recognised as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime, also by proponents of the Ban Treaty. The nine states known to have military nuclear programmes did not attend the conference. Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which in 2016 re-confirmed a commitment to nuclear deterrence, also stayed away, with the exception of the Netherlands, which voted against the adoption of the Ban Treaty. This raises serious doubts about the impact of this new instrument and its ability to create normative values. Most EU Member States, 22 of which are members of NATO, oppose the Ban Treaty, and only five non-NATO EU Member States voted in favour. The European Parliament welcomed the convening of a conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, noting that this would reinforce the non-proliferation and disarmament objectives and obligations contained in the NPT.

United States' nuclear weapons policy: New priorities, new challenges

08-12-2017

The United States is the world's second largest nuclear power, coming close behind Russia. Together the two states account for 93 % of the world's nuclear weapons. Since the end of the Cold War, the US has followed a policy of reducing its nuclear arsenal, while maintaining a nuclear triad. Under President Obama, it embarked on an intense nuclear modernisation programme, while making commitments towards nuclear non-proliferation and – as a long-term goal – nuclear disarmament. President Donald Trump ...

The United States is the world's second largest nuclear power, coming close behind Russia. Together the two states account for 93 % of the world's nuclear weapons. Since the end of the Cold War, the US has followed a policy of reducing its nuclear arsenal, while maintaining a nuclear triad. Under President Obama, it embarked on an intense nuclear modernisation programme, while making commitments towards nuclear non-proliferation and – as a long-term goal – nuclear disarmament. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017 with the promise to discontinue the previous administration's policy priorities. This is reflected in the current realignment of the US nuclear weapons policy. The new administration aims to expand US nuclear capabilities, is sceptical of international arms-control agreements, and has a more determinant stance on non-proliferation. President Trump has criticised the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and consequently decertified the multilateral Iran nuclear deal in October 2017. The President has also characterised the bilateral New START Treaty, limiting the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons between the US and Russia, as 'a one-sided deal'. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), a landmark nuclear arms control treaty between the US and the former USSR, seems to be in limbo, and nuclear proliferation efforts in North Korea have sparked a war of words between Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. The ongoing Nuclear Posture Review, together with the coming passage of the annual defence policy bill in Congress, the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2018, have the potential to provoke shifts in US nuclear policy.

US decertification of the Iran nuclear deal

20-10-2017

On 13 October, US President Donald Trump announced his decision not to certify Iran's compliance with the international nuclear agreement of 2015. This will likely result in a vote on the deal in Congress. The EU and the rest of the international community intend to keep to the agreement.

On 13 October, US President Donald Trump announced his decision not to certify Iran's compliance with the international nuclear agreement of 2015. This will likely result in a vote on the deal in Congress. The EU and the rest of the international community intend to keep to the agreement.

President Trump's first months in office: The course of transatlantic relations

23-05-2017

On 25 May 2017, President Trump attends the NATO Summit in Brussels, as well as meeting with top EU officials, including the Presidents of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council, Donald Tusk, and European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. A review of Trump's term thus far (using the 100-day benchmark) sheds light on current issues in transatlantic affairs in the context of this visit. While an address to Congress on 3 May by the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has helped to clarify ...

On 25 May 2017, President Trump attends the NATO Summit in Brussels, as well as meeting with top EU officials, including the Presidents of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council, Donald Tusk, and European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. A review of Trump's term thus far (using the 100-day benchmark) sheds light on current issues in transatlantic affairs in the context of this visit. While an address to Congress on 3 May by the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has helped to clarify the administration's approach, the implications of Trump’s ‘America First’ policy for EU-US cooperation are still far from clear. Unpredictability has marked President Trump’s time in office to date, and many analysts are yet to discern a firm strategic direction in his foreign policies. His proposed budget cuts for FY2018 have raised concerns on both sides of the Atlantic over a potential US retreat from its leadership on human rights and development. He has rolled back emissions regulations in the USA, but has not yet pulled out of the Paris Agreement, as promised during his campaign. Relations with Russia have fluctuated significantly. Trump has also notably altered his stance on certain issues; for example, he has acknowledged the importance of NATO, and sought to maintain good ties with China. Thus far his policy towards the Middle East has not constituted a radical departure from that of the previous administration, though as with his interactions with other world leaders, he has brought a personal touch to his exchanges with leaders from the region. Since the EU and US share common interests and cooperate in many areas, Trump’s disjointed approach has caused uncertainty in Europe. President Trump has not publicly addressed relations with the EU in the first months of his presidency, beyond acknowledging the value of a strong Europe during an April meeting with the Italian Prime Minister. Thus, the outcome of this Brussels visit will be important in establishing how EU-US relations will develop under the new administration.

Nuclear Proliferation in North East Asia

23-03-2017

The nuclear dimension of the crisis in the Korean peninsula has been compounded since the end of the Cold war, particularly since the North Korean regime announced its withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in January 2003. The nuclear and ballistic programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have dangerously improved since the beginning of the decade and seem to have accelerated since 2014 in spite of the continuous strengthening of the international sanctions ...

The nuclear dimension of the crisis in the Korean peninsula has been compounded since the end of the Cold war, particularly since the North Korean regime announced its withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in January 2003. The nuclear and ballistic programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have dangerously improved since the beginning of the decade and seem to have accelerated since 2014 in spite of the continuous strengthening of the international sanctions regime against Pyongyang’s Weapons of Mass Destruction programmes. Accordingly, tensions have risen dramatically in the Korean peninsula. In the current context, the resumption of the six-party talks – deadlocked since the spring of 2007 - remains very hypothetical. It is clearly dependent on a change of attitude on Pyongyang’s part, something hardly predictable. Even if ‘strategic patience’ towards North Korea has been challenged for some time, it may be that there is no better alternative to this policy. Comprehensively conceived, it should be understood as a strong policy of containment of the North Korean nuclear crisis in order to make possible the return of Pyongyang to negotiations. As a subsidiary issue, it could be asked whether the EU could play a renewed role as regards to nuclear and ballistic proliferation in North East Asia.

Ekstern forfatter

Benjamin HAUTECOUVERTURE (Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique - FRS, Paris, France)

Control of trade in dual-use items

14-09-2016

The system of export controls requires its Member States to comply with general international obligations to counter the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and other items with potential military use. The same obligation is also applicable to ‘dual-use items’, i.e. items which can be used for civil and military purposes. The existing export control system of dual-use items requires an export authorisation if a dual-use item is exported from the EU to a non-EU country. Without ...

The system of export controls requires its Member States to comply with general international obligations to counter the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and other items with potential military use. The same obligation is also applicable to ‘dual-use items’, i.e. items which can be used for civil and military purposes. The existing export control system of dual-use items requires an export authorisation if a dual-use item is exported from the EU to a non-EU country. Without an export authorisation, the dual-use items cannot leave EU customs territory. The list of dual-use items requiring this authorisation is included in Annex I of Regulation 428/2009. The regulation also establishes several rules and principles for export, transport, transfer of, and brokering of these items. Although the regulation is binding in its entirety, it gives several broad competences and discretion to the Member States, for example, with regard to sanctions or different types of authorisation. These competences, on the one hand, allow the Member States to implement the regulation in a way that reflects their legal traditions. On the other hand, however, these might influence the process of harmonisation of dual-use export controls negatively, and as a result, limit their effectiveness. In addition, the most recent technological developments such as 3-D printers, geopolitical changes in the world, a growth of international terrorism and connected security concerns, and a greater concern for human rights, may require an update of the existing European legislation. On several occasions, the European Parliament has called on the Commission to update the existing legislation to react to these challenges. Similarly, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee noted the need to update the existing legislation. Finally, the European Commission itself expressed a willingness to come forward with a new legislative proposal that will update the existing system of export controls of dual-use items. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

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