It is our pleasure to invite you to our online discussion and cordially request your active participation.

Please, be made aware that this session will be held under Chatham House Rule

EU Strategic Toolbox Talk (online):

EU at the Crossroads: Navigating Export Controls in Global Security, Commerce and Technological Competition

Wednesday, February 14th,

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

An online discussion with:

Markéta Gregorová, MEP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance

Peter Sandler, Director, DG Trade – Directorate Trade and Security,

European Commission

Tobias Gehrke, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR European Council on Foreign Relations

Andre Hermsen, Chief Compliance Officer, ASML, Veldhoven NL


Stefani Weiss, Senior Expert Sovereign Europe, Bertelsmann Stiftung

Export controls on military equipment and dual-use goods have long been key instruments of foreign and security policy, designed to bolster peace and security. Recently, they have become a tool of great power competition.

After America adopted sweeping restrictions on advanced semiconductors, manufacturing equipment and know-how, China limited exports of chip manufacturing inputs. These measures go far beyond military applications; explicitly or implicitly, they aim to preserve technological advantages and hinder adversaries from obtaining foundational technologies.

In these geopolitical dynamics, the EU often finds itself reacting rather than leading. In 2008, the EU adopted its first Common Position on military technology exports, a significant step in defining its export control policy and to promote alignment among the diverse national export control laws of member states. The latest revision of the EU’s dual-use item list was in June 2021.

Currently, the EU and its Member States are preparing joint risk assessments on four key technologies: advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and biotechnologies. In its latest attempt to bolster the EU’s economic security, the Commission, on 24 January, released a White Paper on export controls. This document aims to address current loopholes and provide guidance for improved coordination among Member States.

The effectiveness of the EU’s current export controls in achieving their goals is a matter of ongoing debate. They often pose challenging decisions, balancing the commercial interests of affected companies, including the European defense industry, against security policy needs. Furthermore, rapid technological advancement and the digital transformation of warfare complicate the differentiation between their commercial and potential military applications.

A growing concern is whether export restrictions can maintain technological superiority over China, which has gained significant economic and military power partly through technology transfers from Europe and the USA.

The extraterritorial reach of recent US-imposed controls leaves European companies with limited options if they wish to retain access to the American market. At the same time, the EU is falling behind in many advanced technologies, further reducing its bargaining power in this new environment. Consequently, carving a distinct European path between the USA and China seems increasingly challenging.

We look forward to your contributions as we explore the following questions and topics:

  1. How can the EU effectively balance the need for security through export controls with the commercial interests of its member states?
  2. In the face of rapid technological evolution, how should the EU update its export control policies to address the blurring lines between commercial and military technology?
  3. How should the EU respond to the extraterritorial impact of export control policies from major powers, particularly the USA’s expanded export bans on China?
  4. How can the EU maintain and regain technological and economic competitiveness while adhering to stringent export controls, especially in the context of emerging technologies and global market dynamics?

To attend the event please follow this ZOOM LINK for your registration.

We are looking forward to your participation!