It is our pleasure to invite you to our latest EU Toolbox Talk

Determined to Deter?

Responding to Weaponized Interdependence

with the Anti-Coercion Instrument

An online discussion with:

Colin Brown, Head of Unit, Legal Aspects of Trade and Sustainable Development and Investment, DG TRADE, European Commission

Sofia Bournou, Senior Advisor, International Relations Department, BusinessEurope

Cora Jungbluth, Senior Expert China and Asia-Pacific, Bertelsmann Stiftung


Moderator: Etienne Höra, Project Manager Sovereign Europe, Bertelsmann Stiftung

Wednesday, December 13th,

5:00 – 6:00 pm CET/11:00 – 12:00 pm EST


This event continues our online series EU Strategic Toolbox Talks. In the Toolbox Talks, we focus on existing and upcoming EU instruments aimed at managing critical dependencies and strengthening the EU’s sovereignty. These instruments form an important basis for fostering the EU’s capability to act in a global environment increasingly shaped by geopolitical tensions and systemic rivalries.

As geopolitical tensions mount, economic relations are more and more often leveraged by state actors to achieve their strategic goals. While the EU’s openness to trade and investment contributes to its prosperity, we know that interdependence also creates vulnerabilities and risks to Europe’s economic security – not only since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ms von der Leyen’s ‘Geopolitical Commission’ has proposed a range of new instruments to address these risks.

Like no other tool, the Anti-Coercion Instrument (ACI) embodies the end of Europe’s geoeconomic naiveté: If third countries use economic coercion against the EU or a Member State, the EU will have the ability to retaliate with trade restrictions. Ideally, this prospect should deter such actions.

However, in today’s increasingly volatile global context, hostile actors have repeatedly shown that they are willing to take economic risks to achieve geopolitical gains. The ACI strengthens the EU’s ability to counter these threats; at the same time, its effectiveness depends on the Commission’s and member states’ unity and resolve to deploy it.

In this discussion, we will address the following questions and topics:  

  • How will the ACI work, once adopted, and why do we need it?
  • According to the legislative text, what would happen concretely if the EU or a Member State were hit by massive coercive measures from a third country?
  • How much of a deterrent effect will the ACI have on the most relevant third countries?
  • How could the EU make effective use of the instrument when it is needed?
  • Does the ACI alone offer sufficient protection for businesses which are targeted by third countries’ coercive measures?
  • Which supplementary measures may be needed if deterrence is not enough?


We are looking forward to your participation!

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Keeping Friends Closer: Why the EU Should Address New Geoeconomic Realities and Deepen Partnerships with its Neighbours