1. Does the EU have a sanctions regime in place?
Yes. It is a coercive tool of “economic diplomacy” through which the European Union can put in place to exert pressure on countries, individuals and companies.
2. Does the EU implement UN sanctions?
Yes. The EU implements sanctions adopted by UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter through the adoption of EU legislation.
3. Does the EU implement an autonomous sanctions regime?
Yes. In addition to implementing UN sanctions, the EU imposes autonomous sanctions or EU additions to UN sanctions in line with the stated objectives of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (“CFSP”).
4. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in the EU?
EU sanctions may target governments of non-EU countries, as well as companies, groups, organisations, or individuals. They comprise both economic and non-economic sanctions.
The measures include, inter alia: freezing of funds and economic resources, restrictions on admission (visa or travel ban), arms embargoes, embargoes on equipment that might be used for internal repression, other export restrictions, import restrictions, and flight bans. A ban on the provision of financial services, including in connection with bans on the export of certain products has also been used as well as investment bans. Sectoral bans or measures to prevent the misuse of equipment, technology or software for monitoring and interception of the Internet or of other forms of communication have also been used1.
The EU Council imposes these restrictive measures within the framework of the CFSP. The Council first adopts a CFSP Decision under Article 29 of the Treaty on European (“TEU”). The measures foreseen in that Council Decision are either implemented at EU level (by way of Regulation) or at national level.
Measures such as arms embargoes or travel restrictions are implemented directly by member states. Other measures, such as freezing funds and economic resources, are implemented by way of Regulation, adopted by the Council, on a joint proposal from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy under Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”). The European Parliament must be informed of any such Regulations. Regulations are binding and directly effective throughout the EU. Both Regulations and Council Decisions are subject to judicial review by the Court of Justice and the General Court in Luxembourg. Restrictive measures must respect the EU’s international obligations and those of its member states, in particular World Trade Organisation agreements.
5. What is the scope of the EU sanctions?
The EU sanctions are binding on EU nationals or persons located or doing business in the EU. Essentially, the measures apply only within the jurisdiction of the EU. However, they do affect third States, as they are a foreign policy tool.
6. Does the EU maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?
Yes2. The EU maintains a Consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions. The EU also maintains a list and map of countries subject to EU, UN or both EU and UN sanctions3.
7. Are there any other lists related to sanctions?
8. Does the EU have a licensing or authorization system in place?
Yes. The licensing/authorization system is however dependent on the internal licensing systems in place in each EU member state, as each EU member state is responsible for regulating the practical aspects of EU sanctions, including enforcement, into their national law. Therefore, in order to obtain further details on the licensing or authorization system in place in a particular EU jurisdiction, the regulator of the EU member state in question should be contacted in the first instance.
9. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in the EU?
The investigations regarding any potential non-compliance with European sanctions must be carried out by Member States and their national competent authorities. The penalties for any breach of EU sanctions are also dependent on the national legislation of EU member states which must establish effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties, applicable if EU sanctions are breached.
10. Who are the relevant regulators in the EU and what are their contact details?
As individual EU member states are responsible for the practical implementation of EU sanctions within their respective countries, the internal regulators of the relevant EU member state should be contacted in the first instance. Details of the regulators may be found in the annexes to the relevant EU Regulation, which details the restrictive measure/sanctions policy in question. Alternatively, you may contact the Commission, who will contact the regulator within the relevant EU member state on your behalf4.
2 The EU’s consolidated list is available at: https://eeas.europa.eu/topics/sanctions-policy/8442/consolidated-listof-sanctions_en
3 The EU list and map is available at: https://sanctionsmap.eu/#/main
4 Contacts of National Competent Authorities in each European country and the European Commission: https://www.sanctionsmap.eu/#/main/authorities
Contributor law firm
Wesley Pydiamah, Partner
Léonor d’Albiousse, Associate
Eversheds Sutherland (France),
8 Place D'Iéna,
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