24 Oct 2014

DIGITALEUROPE position paper on the review of export control policy in the EU

DIGITALEUROPE position paper on the review of export control policy in the EU


Dual-use items are an integral part of most digital technology. Information security, often in the form of encryption, is an absolutely necessary tool for everyday business. For the digital technology industry in the EU a well-balanced export control policy is crucial in order to survive today’s tough global competition. Indeed important parts of digital technology equipment can be covered by the scope of dual use regulations while being predominantly used for civilian use.

DIGITALEUROPE fully recognizes the very nature of export controls as an instrument for non-proliferation in order to safeguard national security and international security and stability. Effective controls implemented by the EU will also ensure that the international commitments of the Member States in the various control regimes are complied with. It is however also imperative that the balance between security and trade remain intact in order to avoid self-inflicted trade barriers to a high cost for the EU industry without receiving anything in return.

The 30th of June 2011 the European Commission issued a Green Paper launching a consultation on the implementation of the EU export control system and possible areas of reform. This review process was initiated due to the legal obligation for the Commission to continuously review the implementation of the export control system in the European Union (EU). As an outcome from this review process the European Commission has now adopted, on 24 April 2014, a Communication setting out concrete policy options for the modernization of EU export controls and their adaptation to rapidly changing technological, economic and political circumstances.

Before taking concrete initiatives for action, the Commission has invited 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. The Industry has also been invited to contribute to this important review process.

DIGITALEUROPE appreciates the possibility to contribute with its expertise and will support initiatives which are pragmatic and based on best practices from Member States and the Industry.

Without compromising the overall goals of national security and international security and stability, a well-balanced and proportionate export control system which considers global availability of dual use items, global value chains and the ambition for a global level playing field can actually strengthen the competitiveness of the digital technology industry in Europe.

By reducing the differences between Member States, through a greater harmonization of practices and procedures, a modernized export control policy could also pave the way for a more level playing field within the EU.

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