The European Commission has released a catalogue of critical technologies that could face threats from international competitors, emphasizing the need for safeguarding them at the European Union level, according to officials.

The EU’s strategy considers this list as a crucial element, with the aim of decreasing reliance on China for essential materials and preventing geopolitical adversaries from exploiting EU technologies to violate human rights or threaten EU member states.

The strategy, known as “de-risking,” constitutes a key element of the EU’s reaction to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Europe faced shortages of protective gear produced outside the EU. It also aligns with the EU’s efforts to safeguard against the replication of its technology by third-party nations, particularly when it serves both military and civilian purposes.

Critical Technologies

The roster of technologies deemed “critical” to Europe’s security encompasses advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and biotechnologies.

Advanced semiconductors encompass microelectronics, photonics, high-frequency chips, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Artificial Intelligence technologies encompass high-performance computing, cloud and edge computing, data analytics, computer vision, language processing, and object recognition.

Quantum technologies encompass quantum computing, cryptography, communications, sensing, and radar.

Biotechnologies encompass genetic modification, novel genomic techniques, and synthetic biology.

Critical Technologies

Today, the European Commission announced its intention to assess risks within four specific categories to determine the necessity of a risk assessment. Officials emphasize that the strategy does not revolve around employing trade measures to prohibit the sale of particular technologies.

The four categories encompass considerations such as whether sensitive technologies are integrated into supply chains, play a role in critical infrastructure, involve technology leakage, or are susceptible to economic coercion.

Technology is presently at the center of geopolitical rivalry, and the EU aims to be an active participant, not a passive observer. To be an active participant, we require a unified EU stance rooted in a shared evaluation of the associated risks.

European Union Official

The Commission will request input from Ireland and other member states to gather their perspectives on critical technology. The goal is to identify a total of 10 technology areas by next spring.