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The EU’s Anti-Coercion Instrument: A Big Stick for Big targets

Applying economic pressure to coerce another country into a particular course of action has been around for a while, as developing countries can attest. In recent years, though, economic coercion has also been increasingly used against developed countries. The EU has been the target of such unwelcome pressure from, among others, China, Russia and the United States. On 8 December 2021, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal for an EU Anti-Coercion Instrument. This proposal is groundbreaking. The European Commission posits that economic coercion may amount to a violation of international law. Furthermore, it asserts that the EU is able to redress this violation without regard to WTO law. These positions are not uncontroversial. They will be much debated in the first half of 2022, as the French Presidency of the EU is planning to give the Anti-Coercion Instrument a strong push (Programme for the Presidency).   In an earlier post on EJIL:Talk!, Deepak Raju raised doubts about the compatibility of the Anti-Coercion Instrument with international law, while expressing no…

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Overcoming the Global Vaccine and Therapeutics Lag and ‘Vaccine Apartheid’: Abuse of Rights in the EU’s Continued Blocking of the TRIPS Waiver for COVID Vaccines and Related Medicines

Entering the third year of this global pandemic, the United States posted a grim global record of 1 million COVID cases on 3 January 2022.  This record, of course, exists in a shadow of relative non-transparency about COVID incidences, fatalities, and hospitalizations in many parts of the world, arising either from authoritarian regimes refusing to provide…

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Self-Constitution of Mankind without Constitutional Constructivism?

Philip Allott’s recent essay on EJIL: Talk! criticized power-oriented conceptions of ‘international law among sovereign states’ that privilege the self-interests of governments and contribute to the ‘collapse of global government’. His description of international relations as ‘a lawless world’ and ‘a legal wasteland in which those involved in events and transactions can pick and choose among competing…

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The Role of the Right to Health in a “Hidden” Pandemic: Antimicrobial Resistance

Last week, UK health officials declared that a "hidden pandemic" of antibiotic-resistant infections could soon threaten human health and lives. More cold symptoms are expected this winter, due to an increase in social mixing, but the UK Health Security Agency warn against premature and inadequate use of antibiotics. However, this menace is not new and not…

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Unilateral Economic Sanctions to Deter and Punish Cyber-Attacks: Are They Here to Stay?

In June 2021 during the Biden-Putin summit, President Biden stated that critical infrastructure should be “off-limits” to cyber-attacks and handed over a list of 16 areas of critical infrastructure that under no circumstance should be targeted by cyber-attacks. This took place after the SolarWinds cyber-attack that was described by SolarWinds Vice-President as “your worst nightmare”.

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