New rules for European companies to ensure this were agreed today by negotiators of the European Parliament, EU Member States and the European Commission.

The overhaul of the so-called Dual Use Regulation aims at preventing products such as some facial recognition systems, various sensors and lasers, machine tools and chemical manufacturing equipment being abused for oppressive purposes or serving the creation of weapons of mass destruction. The EPP Group has particularly advocated that the new requirements do not create an extra burden for European companies.

“By defining clear criteria on how to export dual use items, we will strengthen controls for the goods with the largest human rights risks while not creating unnecessary red tape for European businesses”, said Sven Simon MEP, who negotiated the new law on behalf of the EPP Group.

Regulating cyber surveillance items at EU-level and improving transparency on licensing decisions were a key point of the negotiations. “Companies offering some of these tools, such as devices to intercept mobile phones or hack computers, will have to obtain a specific export licence. As we have seen recently in Belarus, these technologies are often diverted against people and need to be better controlled”, said Simon.

Items used for purely commercial applications such as mobile phones with biometric data recognition are not included in the scope. The Report will also introduce stricter controls of emerging technologies such as quantum computing, satellite equipment, or Artificial Intelligence, with relevance for military applications.

“The EPP Group was the only group to advocate the need to avoid unnecessary burden and costs for thousands of European companies that deal with dual use goods. We have simplified the export processes, harmonised the duration of licences given to the items, and clearly defined which technologies will be subject to control or not. In addition, we have pushed to harmonise the existing standards in Europe by for example, introducing similar penalties for non-compliance, along with greater transparency of national authorities' export control decisions”, concluded Simon.

'The revision of the Dual-Use Regulation is one of the most important steps that will help residents of the former Eastern Bloc countries to fight for their rights, freedoms, assertion and development of European values. The more European politicians are interested in the life and durability of the opposition in these countries, the quicker the ideas of freedom and democracy will move to the East, which will ultimately be useful for the entire European community. Let us hope European politicians will continue making reforms in this direction and adopt important laws aimed at developing democracy in the countries of the former USSR', - Vice-President Centre for European Democracy Studies (CEDS)  O.J. Kozerod stressed.

Today's informal agreement between negotiators still needs to be validated by Parliament and Council. 

Photo byJamesmathew1840139, Wikimedia commons