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S&Ds welcome EU’s new instrument to counter political weaponisation of trade


08 Dec 2021


Trade & Society

Today, the European Commission presented its proposal for a new trade tool that would empower the EU to impose countermeasures on third countries trying to coerce the EU or its member states. With this new tool the EU could impose restrictions on trade and investment, as well as intellectual property rights, if the other side does not backtrack or agree on finding a solution in line with international rules. The European Parliament had urged the Commission to present such an “Anti-Coercion Instrument”, which still now needs approval from both the European Parliament and EU governments.

Bernd Lange, S&D MEP, chair of the European Parliament’s trade committee and rapporteur on the file, said:

“The EU is facing geopolitical realities: the recent months and years have illustrated how trade policy is increasingly used as a political weapon. Such ruthless behaviour is completely unacceptable and the EU must be equipped with tools to defend its own interests. We now need to establish a comprehensive approach to what constitutes coercion and how the EU should respond to these aggressive acts. From investment restrictions to sanctions on intellectual property rights, we need a full toolbox. A rules-based multilateral trading order remains our priority, but we are nobody’s fool.”

Marek Belka, S&D MEP and vice-president responsible for international trade, said:

“With this new sanctions instrument the EU can finally become a geopolitical actor with real powers. Leveraging the economic weight of its 27 countries, the EU will be in a position to defend its member states against unfair attacks. Giving the Commission the executive power to take this decision without depending on unanimity in the Council would make the sanction mechanism a real game-changer for the EU’s foreign policy stance. As Europeans we will be stronger together in an increasingly rough international environment.”