Large French companies convey their strong support to the proposed regulation on the protection of UE and its Member States from economic coercion by third States.
They welcome in particular the following steps forward made in the proposed text : inclusion of a large range of coercive behaviours (actual measures and threats thereof), a good balance found between the attempt of a negotiated settlement and the possibility to impose last resort counter-measures, the extent of EU trade and investment counter-measures envisaged as well as the possibility for individual companies to seek damages from natural and legal persons targeted by EU countermeasures, based on their direct involvement in the preparation or in the enforcement of the economic coercion.
French companies suggest nonetheless several improvements to be achieved during the legislative process :
- The inclusion of a greater number of measures with an extraterritorial reach in the scope of targeted coercive measures, especially those affecting strategic sectors for the EU economic sovereignty or hampering the EU legal capacity to protect its citizens subject to judiciary proceedings abroad obviously triggered with a coercive purpose ;
- A quicker adoption process for EU counter-measures when third countries imposing economic coercion have offered the possibility to enter into negotiations with the EU and to withdraw coercive measures without seizing this opportunity ;
- A strengthening of consultation procedures with stakeholders at the stage of investigations prior to the determination of a behaviour by a third country as being coercive and, in particular, before the adoption of EU countermeasures, notably with the possibility to hold, in addition to written submissions, closed-door hearings with business associations and individual companies;
- Enhanced consideration for the escalation risk in trade and investment flow restrictions to avoid an increase of economic tensions before the third country in cause could take in turn disproportionate measures ;
- The set-up of a compensation fund for EU companies that could be funded by the seizure of assets detained by natural and legal persons targeted by EU individual countermeasures and revenues drawn from EU tariff countermeasures and, in any event, an improvement of the conditions for exercising the right for recovery as established by the proposal ( systematic entitlement for recovery without the requirement of an ad-hoc decision by the European Commission, rules detailing the types of assets to be subject to civil litigations and competent jurisdictions within the EU)