EU Primer on Dual-Use and Cyber Surveillance Released


This briefing paper on dual-use and cyber-surveillance provides on overview of current EU export controls of dual-use items in general and cyber-surveillance items in particular, and what the approach is in countries such as the US, the UK and Japan. It explains the impact of the sanctions against Russia on the export of dual-use items and the use of cyber-surveillance in the conflict in the Ukraine.

The Dual-use Regulation 2021/821 has broadened the scope of export controls and defines a new category of dual-use items, namely ’cyber-surveillance items’ which is incorporated in the list of dual-use items in Annex I of the Regulation. Further-more, the Regulation introduces a catch-all clause which makes the export of cyber-surveillance items not listed in Annex I subject to export authorisation when intended for use in connection with internal repression and/or the commission of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Regarding the sanctions against Russia, the EU had published 11 sanctions packages by mid-November 2023, including the prohibition of direct or indirect export to Russia of dual-use items listed in Annex I of the EU Dual-use Regulation. In addition, technologically advanced items as listed in Annex VII to the sanctions Regulation 833/2014 are also prohibited for export to Russia.

The EU is cooperating with the US, the UK and other allies to align on the sanctions measures against Russia. There is less international alignment regarding export restrictions on semiconductor equipment and technology destined for China.