In a concerted effort to safeguard sensitive technologies from unauthorized access, the European Commission has taken significant steps to improve the coordination of export controls at the EU level. This initiative aims to prevent critical technologies from falling into the wrong hands.
A significant milestone was achieved with the publication of the first compilation of EU Member States' national export control lists on October 20, 2023. This compilation empowers Member States to enforce authorization requirements on exports of items listed in other Member States' control lists, provided they are included in the Commission's compilation.
The inaugural compilation encompasses a range of controls, including Dutch regulations governing semiconductor manufacturing machinery and Spanish controls related to quantum computing, additive manufacturing, and other emerging technologies. This publication creates an avenue for enhanced coordination among Member States, a particularly crucial development given the growing recognition of essential security concerns.
The compilation will remain a dynamic resource, subject to updates whenever Member States notify the Commission of new or amended national export control measures.
Before the EU's Dual Use Regulation took effect in 2021, EU export controls were primarily based on international agreements within Multilateral Export Control Regimes (MERCs). These regimes comprised voluntary and non-binding agreements among countries, designed to oversee the transfer of specific military and dual-use technologies and prevent the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Examples of such regimes include the Nuclear Supplier Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
With the implementation of the EU's Dual-Use Regulation, Member States gained the ability to harmonize their export controls for items lacking multilateral agreements. The recent Economic Security Strategy of the EU has emphasized the need for full compliance with this regulation, as it forms an integral part of a comprehensive approach to safeguard the Union's economic security.