EXTERNAL ACTION: European Parliament and EU Council strike provisional agreement on ‘Anti-Coercion Instrument’

As expected, negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached an agreement in trilogue on the regulation introducing the ‘Anti-Coercion Instrument’ on Tuesday, 6 June. Now that additional technical meetings have taken place, it is mainly a matter of confirming the agreement reached in March on the key elements of the text (see EUROPE 13151/18).

Once it enters into force (probably in autumn), the EU will be able to impose various countermeasures on third countries exerting economic coercion on it or one of its Member States.

It is an “important building block for the EU’s economic security and its Member States”, according to European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis.

“Taking countermeasures is a last resort, but if necessary, we are ready to assert European sovereignty from a full arsenal of measures. It is now time for this regulation to enter into force and the EU to continue taking the lead globally with like-minded partners”, commented Bernd Lange (S&D, German), who is the rapporteur for the text in the European Parliament and chairs the Committee on International Trade.

The European Commission will, therefore, have to examine whether a measure taken by a third country is coercive or not in less than 4 months. After which, the EU Council will have to confirm that this is, indeed, the case by a qualified majority of Member States within 8 to 10 weeks. Finally, the European Commission will have to decide on the nature of the response in less than 6 months. The entire procedure is thus not expected to take longer than a year.

This time frame was requested by the European Parliament, as was the possibility to claim compensation for damages caused by third countries.

With this instrument, the EU is thus sending a strong signal, since the question of how to respond to acts of coercion has recently become more prominent on the world stage. In May, the leaders of the G7 countries notably announced the launch of a Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion (see EUROPE 13185/23). (Original version in French by Léa Marchal)