Communication on EU export control review
As part of an ongoing review of the EU export controls system, the European Commission has adopted, on 24 April 2014, a Communication setting out concrete policy options for the modernisation of EU export controls and their adaptation to rapidly changing technological, economic and political circumstances.
Before taking concrete initiatives for action, the Commission now invites the Council and the European Parliament to consider the approach set out in this Communication, and will conduct an impact assessment of the review options outlined in this Communication.
Dual-use items are goods, software and technology normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications, or may contribute to the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
The EU therefore controls the export, transit and brokering of dual-use items as a key instrument contributing to international peace and security.
Dual-use controls in a nutshell
Dual-use items represent a significant portion of EU trade with strategic partners. EU dual-use industries bring together thousands of small, medium and large companies providing high value-added jobs across a wide range of key sectors of the EU economy.
Dual use trade and the EU economy
Dual-use export controls affect research and development (R&D), production and trade of typically high-tech, advanced products across a wide-range of civil industries – e.g. energy, aerospace, defence and security, lasers and navigation, telecommunications, life sciences, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, material-processing equipment, electronics, semiconductor and computing industries, medical and automotive.
EU export controls are thus crucial to the EU's drive towards innovation and competitiveness.
EU trade policy and Dual-use export regulations
The EU export control regime is governed by Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 , which provides for common EU control rules, a common EU control list and harmonised policies for implementation.
The Regulation is binding and directly applicable throughout the EU.
EU Member States nevertheless need to take certain complementary measures for implementing some of its provisions, e.g. in relation to breaches and applicable penalties. An overview of national measures is published at regular intervals.
Prospects for an evolution of the EU export control regime
Export controls, as a security-related trade instrument, remain, more than ever, at the forefront of international non-proliferation efforts. They need to adjust to the evolution of security risks and threats – including the various forms of terrorism and the efforts by some States and non-state actors to acquire weapons of mass destruction and corresponding carrier technology and armaments.
The European Commission regularly holds public consultations, and maintains a constant dialogue with industry associations, academia and civil society, in order to strike the right balance between security and competitiveness. Moreover, EU Member States also conduct outreach and dialogue with business associations and stakeholders at national level.
In 2011, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on "Strategic export controls: ensuring security and competitiveness in a changing world" launching a broad public consultation on the implementation of export controls under the Regulation. The report on the public consultation, adopted in January 2013 identified the main issues raised by stakeholders as regards the strengths and weaknesses of the EU export control system, its impact on both security and trade and their views concerning possible improvements and evolutions towards a more integrated EU export control regime.
The report thus opens the way for the preparation of a Communication outlining a long-term vision for EU strategic export controls and which may announce concrete policy initiatives for their adaptation to rapidly changing technological, economic and political circumstances.
More on Dual-use export controls
EU Export control system and related EU links
- EU Licensing authorities' contacts and websites
- EU Customs Union
- EU Outreach Programme – cooperation in export controls
- EU restrictive measures (sanctions)
International organisations in charge of disarmament and non-proliferation
- Multilateral export control regimes - The EU export control system, and in particular the EU Control List, implements the international commitments of the EU and its Member States especially under multilateral export control regimes such as:
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)