Navigating the Waters: EU's Plan to Mitigate Tech Risks Involving China

NNicholas October 3, 2023 5:02 PM

The European Union aims to mitigate risks with China by focusing on four significant technologies: advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and biotech. These areas are considered as having the highest potential to strengthen rival industries and militaries, thereby posing immediate risks to the EU's security and resilience.

EU's new strategy targets four technologies

The European Union is taking significant steps to reduce its vulnerability in the global tech landscape. It has identified four critical technologies - advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and biotech - as areas of focus in its new economic security strategy. These technologies are recognized as presenting 'serious and immediate risks' to the EU's security and resilience, making them integral to the union's efforts to fortify its position against potential threats.

Although the strategy doesn't explicitly name China, the subtle focus on the country is hard to ignore. The EU asserts that the strategy is intended to be country-agnostic. However, the implicit emphasis on China could complicate efforts to convince skeptical member states that de-risking is necessary. The delicate dance between maintaining economic ties and ensuring security is a complex task that the EU must navigate carefully.

Potential impact of EU's de-risking strategy

The EU's strategy could lead to significant changes in its tech landscape. It might impose restrictions on exports or investments in high-risk hi-tech sub-sectors, making it harder for European firms to operate in these areas. On the flip side, it could also lead to the deployment of EU funds to bolster industries deemed under threat. This proactive approach indicates the EU's willingness to take concrete measures to safeguard its technological infrastructure.

In line with its new strategy, the European Commission plans to carry out risk assessments with its 27 member states. The goal is to identify potential threats to technological security and leakages in critical technologies. This collective effort underscores the importance of unity and cooperation among EU states in addressing these challenges. However, internal disagreements and the complexities of the technologies involved could make it a more prolonged and rigorous process than anticipated.

EU's new tool against economic bullying

The European Parliament has given its nod to an 'anti-coercion instrument' that allows Brussels to penalize countries engaged in economic bullying. This development has been widely hailed, with several lawmakers noting that this tool would have been handy to counteract China's perceived economic coercion of Lithuania in 2021. The new instrument underscores the EU's commitment to maintaining the integrity and security of its member states in the face of potential economic threats.

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