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The EU Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox: towards a cyber sanctions regime?

12 July 2017
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Faced with a rapidly evolving threat environment and a stalemate in the global discussion about norms of responsible state behaviour and international law in cyberspace, in June 2017, the EU ministers of foreign affairs decided to endorse the development of a framework for a joint EU diplomatic response to malicious cyber activities – the so-called Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox (CDT).

The primary intention behind the CDT – which includes, among a panoply of instruments, the imposition of sanctions – is to develop signalling and reactive capacities at an EU and member state level with the aim to influence the behaviour of potential aggressors, taking into account the necessity and proportionality of the response. The remaining challenge, however, is to translate these provisions into an effective foreign policy instrument.