EU Commission Recommends Risk Assessments for Four Critical Technology Areas

The European Commission has issued a Recommendation calling for risk assessments on four crucial technology sectors: advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and biotechnologies. This move is part of the comprehensive European Economic Security Strategy, focusing on the assessment of technology risk and technology leakage.

The Commission's Recommendation stems from the Joint Communication on a European Economic Security Strategy, which established a strategic approach to bolstering economic security within the EU.

The selection of these technology areas was based on three primary criteria:

  • Enabling and Transformative Nature: These technologies hold immense potential to drive significant performance improvements, efficiency, and transformative changes across various sectors.
  • Civil and Military Fusion: They are relevant to both civil and military domains, with the potential to advance both sectors while posing risks to peace and security.
  • Human Rights Concerns: There is a risk of these technologies being misused in violation of human rights, potentially restricting fundamental freedoms.


European Economic Security Strategy

Out of the ten critical technology areas initially identified, the Commission has identified four as having the most sensitive and immediate risks related to technology security and leakage:

  • Advanced Semiconductors technologies: Including microelectronics, photonics, high-frequency chips, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
  • Artificial Intelligence technologies: Encompassing high-performance computing, cloud and edge computing, data analytics, computer vision, language processing, and object recognition.
  • Quantum technologies: Covering quantum computing, quantum cryptography, quantum communications, quantum sensing, and radar.
  • Biotechnologies: Encompassing genetic modification techniques, new genomic techniques, gene-drive, and synthetic biology.

The Commission has recommended that Member States, in collaboration with the Commission, conduct collective risk assessments of these four areas by the end of the year. The Recommendation provides guiding principles for structuring these assessments, emphasizing consultation with the private sector and the protection of confidentiality.

As the process unfolds, the Commission will engage with Member States through expert forums to initiate collective risk assessments for these technology areas. Furthermore, the Commission will establish an open dialogue with Member States to determine the timing and scope of additional risk assessments, taking into account the evolving nature of risks and the EU's competitiveness in these areas.

The outcome of these collective risk assessments will form the basis for discussions regarding precise and proportionate measures to promote, partner with, or protect these critical technology areas.

The European Economic Security Strategy, adopted on June 20, 2023, focuses on promoting the EU's economic base and competitiveness, protecting against various risks, and fostering partnerships to address shared concerns and interests. The latest Recommendation falls under the strategy's objective to address technology security and technology leakage risks.


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