A political agreement on the “anti-coercion instrument” was reached recently as a new tool aimed to enable the EU member states respond to internationally induced economic and financial coercion, thus to better defend their interests. The EU as a whole will be better prepared to external coercion and on the global economic stage as well.
There are 2 main categories of coercion – deterrence and compellence, as well as constrain and oblige; however, mostly used term is “force” as synonym. In recent years, there has been an increase in the practices of non-EU countries seeking to unduly interfere in the EU’s and/or its member states’ policies.
Such coercive practices from outside Europe, including the threat of coercion, may take the form of existing legislation or unwritten measures and may affect numerous political and economic fields. Such kinds of coercion might unduly interfere with a country’s sovereignty and undermine the freedom to regulate by taking (or not taking) particular policy measures.
In the beginning of December 2021, the European Commission published a proposal for urgent measures (called “ACI-instrument”) to dissuade or offset such undue tactics in line with public international law.
The instrument would empower the Commission, in specific situations of coercion, to take trade, investment or other restrictive measures towards the non-EU country exerting the pressure.
More in the following Commission’s website: https://policy.trade.ec.europa.eu/enforcement-and-protection/protecting-against-coercion_en
The ACI-instrument will empower the Commission to apply trade, investment or other restrictions towards any non-EU country unduly interfering in the policy choices of the EU or its member states. It could give the EU states “strong autonomous tool” to take action when the external partners do not play by the rules.
Increasing number of foreign countries’ interference to influence the decisions or the EU institutions or the member states’ governance, mainly in the area of trade and investment, has been seen as a threat to the EU’s open strategic autonomy.
More on strategic autonomy in the JRC’s policy report (2021): https://rmis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/uploads/library/open_strategic_autonomy_2040_online_1.pdf/ PDF: doi: 10.2760/414963; ISBN 978-92-76-41020-1.
The European Joint Science Center, JSC issues a report outlining potential implications that could contribute to leveraging the EU’s capacity to move towards open strategic autonomy by 2040 and beyond. It addresses current weaknesses and upcoming challenges, pointing to underlying opportunities and implementing-priorities that will be required to shape and guarantee open strategic autonomy.
The implications outlined above should be considered as a “set of coercion-preventive measures”, in order to ensure the establishment of a coherent EU-wide policy framework. The results could be presented in a systemic way across five different areas: i.e. in geopolitics, technology, economy, environment and society.
Main source on EU’s strategic autonomy in:
The perspectives of any legal steps in the described field could proceed the following way: the European Parliament and the Council within next months will have to complete formal procedures for approval of a new regulation before it can enter into force.
Such EU-wide regulation as a legal means would have the force of a truly national legal force without additional efforts from the member states.
The regulation’s entry into force is expected in the autumn of this year.
General reference: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_23_3046.