EU on warpath with China and US – new plan to stop ‘blackmail’ as tensions rise | World | News
On Wednesday, EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis was asked about examples of areas where the new anti-extortion instrument proposed by the EU could work. So far, the bloc has struggled to respond to blackmail attempts from third countries.
The new law would give the EU the ability to impose counter-sanctions on individuals, businesses and entire countries.
Indeed, allow the EU to retaliate as an entity against or for one of its members if they find themselves in a difficult position.
The very sensitive bill would empower the EU to act as a foreign policy determinant.
It grants Brussels the legal right to fight if one of its members feels threatened.
The Brussels decision will be watched very closely by China, Russia and the United States, as the three main players will have to think twice before imposing sanctions on the EU or any of its countries.
To impose sanctions on countries, EU treaties require the unanimous consent of member states.
However, when it comes to China, some heads of state and government such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have vetoed EU decisions.
According to the proposal, the decision on the use of the anti-extortion instrument should be left to the Commission and states could only be able to prevent it if there is a qualified majority in the Council of Ministers.
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The trade commissioner said the Commission had to decide on a case-by-case basis whether there was any question of “economic blackmail” by states “.
This could take various forms, including threatening tariffs and the deliberately slow clearance of goods at the border.
The instrument can only enter into force if the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers approve it.
The move was greeted with broad support in the European Parliament on Wednesday.
Greens MEP Reinhard Butikofer said: “There is a strong will in the European Parliament to work constructively and expeditiously to ensure that the new protection instrument becomes a reality.”
SPD Bernd Lange added: “We have to create an instrument that excludes attempts to divide the EU from the start.”
Germany and France have already indicated their support for the new measure.
Berlin said it would be an “evolution of the EU towards a European federal state”. It would be the biggest gain for the EU in foreign policy powers in decades.
However, the Scandinavian countries, Ireland and the Czech Republic have warned that the instrument could be misused to seal the EU market.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg