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Revision of the Explosives Precursors Regulation

10-07-2018

Explosives precursors can be found in various chemical products used by consumers, general professional users, and industrial users, for example, in detergents, fertilisers, special fuels, lubricants and greases, water treatment chemicals. They can be used by terrorists to produce home-made explosives (HME). In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment (IA) and an evaluation, which have been performed at the same time. The ...

Explosives precursors can be found in various chemical products used by consumers, general professional users, and industrial users, for example, in detergents, fertilisers, special fuels, lubricants and greases, water treatment chemicals. They can be used by terrorists to produce home-made explosives (HME). In April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment (IA) and an evaluation, which have been performed at the same time. The IA has attempted to provide a rather detailed, albeit mainly qualitative, analysis of the various types of impacts, disregarding some limitations to obtain data, such as a risk of exposing vulnerabilities in Member States and of jeopardising ongoing investigations and prosecutions. The IA notes that many SMEs are not part of the EU level industry associations, which have been consulted while drafting the ex-post evaluation. A question arises if the SMEs have been targeted at the stakeholder consultation in any other way, which appears not to be the case. The public consultation took less than 12 weeks, which is not in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines.

Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors: Implementation Appraisal

29-05-2018

Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HMEs). Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, applicable since September 2014, has two general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HMEs and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate ...

Explosives precursors are chemical substances that can be (and have been) misused to manufacture homemade explosives (HMEs). Regulation 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors, applicable since September 2014, has two general aims: to increase public security through a reduced risk of misuse of explosives precursors for the manufacture of HMEs and, at the same time, to enable the free movement of explosives precursor substances in the EU internal market, given their many legitimate uses. The regulation establishes a system of restrictions and controls on a number of explosives precursors with the aim of limiting the general public's access to these substances. The regulation also establishes an obligation for economic operators to report suspicious transactions, disappearances and thefts of explosives precursors. Evidence collected through the Commission's evaluation and stakeholder consultation confirms the existence of significant challenges related to the application of the regulation. These include a fragmented landscape of restrictions and controls across Member States (which apply an outright ban, a licensing or a registration regime, or a combination of these); insufficient awareness along the supply chain about rules and obligations arising from the regulation; and a lack of clarity about certain provisions that focus particularly on the identification of products that fall within the scope of the regulation and the identification of legitimate/professional users. Lack of clarity as to the application of the regulation to online marketplaces is yet another problem, given the absence of an explicit reference to e-commerce in the regulation. Non-inclusion of all threat substances in the list of restricted explosives precursors is seen as yet another important challenge, and so is the perceived inflexibility of the procedure for adding new threat substances to the list, especially in view of the need to react quickly to new and evolving threats. In light of the above, in April 2018 the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new regulation, accompanied by an impact assessment and an evaluation.

EU sanctions: A key foreign and security policy instrument

08-05-2018

Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has 42 sanctions programmes in place, making it the world's second-most active user of restrictive measures, after the US. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population ...

Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has 42 sanctions programmes in place, making it the world's second-most active user of restrictive measures, after the US. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population. Other measures in the sanctions toolkit include arms embargoes, sectoral trade and investment restrictions, as well as suspensions of development aid and trade preferences. The declared purpose of EU sanctions is to uphold the international security order as well as defending human rights and democracy standards, by encouraging targeted countries to change their behaviour. Measuring their effectiveness is difficult, as sanctions rarely achieve all their aims, and usually there are other causes to which changes can be attributed. However, even when this primary purpose is not achieved, sanctions may have useful secondary effects, for example by deterring other actors from similar behaviour. The broader the international support for EU sanctions and the closer the relationship between the EU and the targeted country are, the stronger the prospects for success will be. On the other hand, effectiveness can be undermined by inconsistent application of sanctions standards and by the difficulty of coordinating implementation between multiple stakeholders.

Review of dual-use export controls

12-01-2018

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for the development of weapons of mass-destruction, terrorist acts and human rights violations; these so-called ‘dual-use’ goods are subject to the European Union’s export control regime. This 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 recasts the regulation in force since ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for the development of weapons of mass-destruction, terrorist acts and human rights violations; these so-called ‘dual-use’ goods are subject to the European Union’s export control regime. This 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 recasts the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal introduces a controversial new ‘human security’ dimension to export controls, to prevent the abuse of certain cyber-surveillance technologies by regimes with a questionable human rights record. 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. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission issued a joint statement on the review of the dual-use export control system in 2014 and the European Parliament has since adopted several resolutions related to the issue. Fourth 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.

The EU’s Market Access Strategy: does it reach its main goals?

13-12-2017

The EU Market Access Strategy (MAS) and associated Market Access Partnership (MAP) is a EU trade policy operational instrument designed to identify and remove market access restrictions confronting EU firms in third country export markets. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of trade restricting measures imposed by EU trading partners. The MAS is a key tool through which the EU seeks to work with third countries to prevent, remove and reduce market access ...

The EU Market Access Strategy (MAS) and associated Market Access Partnership (MAP) is a EU trade policy operational instrument designed to identify and remove market access restrictions confronting EU firms in third country export markets. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a steady increase in the number of trade restricting measures imposed by EU trading partners. The MAS is a key tool through which the EU seeks to work with third countries to prevent, remove and reduce market access barriers. There is broad support for the MAS among stakeholders who are aware of the mechanism and a virtual consensus that greater emphasis should be given by the European Union to identifying and removing barriers to trade and investment in third countries. Two types of challenges confront the MAS and, as a result, its effectiveness. One centres on the identification of protectionist measures and the ability of the EU to induce policy changes by trading partners. The other is to improve awareness among EU exporters of the existence of the MAP and leveraging the tools that are available to address market access restrictions. The European Parliament can contribute to addressing these challenges by engaging with national parliaments and constituencies on the existence and utility of the MAS and in advocating that market access issues be prioritised in the activities of the European Commission. The European Parliament can also play an increased role in helping to achieve the goals of the MAS and support EU exports by raising market access issues when they engage with third country counterparts.

Vanjski autor

Bernard HOEKMAN, Matteo FIORINI, Roberta IGLIOZZI, Naïs RALAISON and Aydin YLDIRIM.

EU-Russia trade continuing despite sanctions

14-11-2017

Since 2014, trade between the EU and Russia has slumped due to the difficult context (an economic downturn in Russia, EU sanctions over Ukraine and Russian counter-sanctions, and long-standing trade barriers), but remains substantial. Trade started to recover in early 2017. This publication updates an 'At a glance' note of January 2016, PE 573.931.

Since 2014, trade between the EU and Russia has slumped due to the difficult context (an economic downturn in Russia, EU sanctions over Ukraine and Russian counter-sanctions, and long-standing trade barriers), but remains substantial. Trade started to recover in early 2017. This publication updates an 'At a glance' note of January 2016, PE 573.931.

Current and Emerging Trends in Disruptive Technologies: Implications for the Present and Future of EU’s Trade Policy

20-09-2017

Digital technologies, taken as a broad generic category of technological inventions and applications, fall under a rare kind of ‘disruptive technologies’ that can radically change existing economic sectors, enable new modes of work, production and consumption and trigger broader societal transformations. To make apt policy decisions, there is a distinct need to understand what these technologies and their effects actually are and how they may develop over time. This study attends to this need in ...

Digital technologies, taken as a broad generic category of technological inventions and applications, fall under a rare kind of ‘disruptive technologies’ that can radically change existing economic sectors, enable new modes of work, production and consumption and trigger broader societal transformations. To make apt policy decisions, there is a distinct need to understand what these technologies and their effects actually are and how they may develop over time. This study attends to this need in particular with regard to the implications of digital technologies for EU’s external trade policies. It accentuates the critical importance of data and cross-border data flows for the emergent digital economy and underscores the need to appropriately address them with a calibrated and more proactive positioning of the EU in international trade venues.

Openness of public procurement markets in key third countries

04-07-2017

This report assesses the openness of public procurement markets in key third countries of interest to the EU. It provides a comparative overview of the regulatory and market access characteristics of the US, Brazil, India, China, Japans’ procurement markets, with reference to the procurement regulation and enforcement within the EU. The report assesses the available data on both the de jure and de facto levels of openness of these markets to put forward some conclusions of value to policy making ...

This report assesses the openness of public procurement markets in key third countries of interest to the EU. It provides a comparative overview of the regulatory and market access characteristics of the US, Brazil, India, China, Japans’ procurement markets, with reference to the procurement regulation and enforcement within the EU. The report assesses the available data on both the de jure and de facto levels of openness of these markets to put forward some conclusions of value to policy making both within the EU and in its trading relations with key third countries. This assessment concludes that the lack of comprehensive comparable data on procurement contract awards, particularly at the sub-central level, is not a trivial challenge for policy makers. Nevertheless, it is evident that the liberalisation of procurement markets continues to take place on a strictly reciprocal basis – linked to the offensive interests of governments. Given the slow-down in negotiating mega-regional agreements with comprehensive procurement chapters, the WTO Government Procurement Agreement remains the most efficient and transparent forum for undertaking further liberalisation in public procurement.

Vanjski autor

Kamala DAWAR, Sussex University, United Kingdom

Control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items

25-01-2017

The IA is well structured, clear and compact. Overall, it appears to provide well-researched explanation of the evidence base of the legislative proposal. The problem definition is illustrated by facts and figures which give a clear view of international security threats. The outcome of the stakeholder consultation is clearly presented and has been integrated into the analysis and the assessment of the different options, with a transparent presentation of stakeholders' views throughout. Nevertheless ...

The IA is well structured, clear and compact. Overall, it appears to provide well-researched explanation of the evidence base of the legislative proposal. The problem definition is illustrated by facts and figures which give a clear view of international security threats. The outcome of the stakeholder consultation is clearly presented and has been integrated into the analysis and the assessment of the different options, with a transparent presentation of stakeholders' views throughout. Nevertheless, the IA has a number of shortcomings. A clearer explanation of the links between the problems and their drivers, the objectives of the legislative proposal and the options considered, would have strengthened the IA. The report would have been more persuasive had it been clearer about the methodological approach to the comparison of the options. Even if the Commission made efforts to collect relevant data in preparation of the IA, the analysis remains essentially qualitative. Finally, the IA remains vague about the overall impact of the proposal on SMEs and competitiveness.

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

Buduća događanja

20-11-2019
Europe's Future: Where next for EU institutional Reform?
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