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Targeted consultation on draft EU compliance guidance for research involving dual-use items

  • Policy field: Trade
  • Target group: All concerned stakeholders (e.g. academia, research institutions) making research involving dual-use items
  • Closing Date: 30/11/2020

Objective of the consultation

Nowadays Europe’s research landscape is ever more competitive. Research organisations have strong incentives to collaborate internationally. Industry-sponsored research and commercial collaborations are sought actively to develop meaningful scientific and technological advancement. As a result, the line between fundamental research and applied research becomes increasingly blurry in practice.

Awareness about dual-use export controls in the wider research community cannot be taken for granted. In the European Union, only few research organisations have a fully-fledged compliance structure established. Most research organisations are only starting to invest in export compliance measures, including the determination of potentially export-controlled research, and seek support from EU and national competent authorities.

At EU level, the need to take into consideration the global nature of science and the free flow of scientific information was recognised in 2016 in the context of the export control policy review (1).

The 2016 Commission proposal for a modernisation of EU export controls (2) explicitly recognises that researchers may be involved in the export of dual-use items and suggests clarification regarding the application of controls to natural persons, such as researchers.

The 2018 public consultation on the draft EU Internal Compliance Programme (ICP) guidance has sparked the attention of some actors in the European academic research community to respond and indicate the need to tailoring compliance guidance to increase its usefulness.

In order to support the research institutions and the national competent authorities in their effort to ensure compliance with EU and national export laws and regulations, the European Commission and EU Member States, represented in the Dual-Use Coordination Group (3), set up a Technical Expert Group which prepared the guidance submitted for targeted consultation as a non-binding instrument identifying the main elements that are essential to help researchers and research organisations to identify, manage and mitigate risks associated with dual-use export controls and to facilitate compliance with the relevant EU and national laws and regulations.

Before finalising the work on this non-binding guidance, which will take the form of a Commission Recommendation, the European Commission and the EU MS have decided to conduct a public survey to evaluate the usefulness of this draft guidance, providing the opportunity for relevant stakeholders to give their feedback and inputs.

The Commission will publish a document after the consultation summarising the findings and how it has taken comments into account.

The Commission will collect the data from the survey and make it available to the experts of the Member States in the Technical Expert Group, with a view to proceeding with the finalisation of the Compliance Guidance as swiftly as possible.

 

(1) COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT - IMPACT ASSESSMENT - Report on the EU Export Control Policy Review Accompanying the document Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting up a Union regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use item – (SWD(2016)315 final of 28.9.2016) - https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=SWD:2016:0315:FIN

(2) Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL setting up a Union regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items (recast) - https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2016:0616:FIN

(3) Established under Article 23 of Reg. (EC) No 428/2009. The Group is chaired by the Commission and composed by representatives appointed by each Member State.

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