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EU publishes sanctions factsheet

Today, the EU issued a 3-page factsheet on its sanction regime. Nice summary – here are some highlights:

EU sanctions are not punitive, but designed to bring about a change in policy or activity by the target country, entities or individuals. Measures are therefore always targeted at such policies or activities, the means to conduct them and those responsible for them. At the same time, the EU makes every effort to minimise adverse consequences for the civilian population or for legitimate activities.

The EU implements all sanctions imposed by the UN. In addition, the EU may reinforce UN sanctions by applying stricter and additional measures. Finally, where the EU deems it necessary, it may decide to impose autonomous sanctions.

Asset freeze

An asset freeze concerns funds and economic resources owned or controlled by targeted individuals or entities. It means that funds, such as cash, cheques, bank deposits, stocks, shares etc., may not be accessed, moved or sold. All other tangible or intangible assets, including real estate, cannot be sold or rented, either.

An asset freeze also includes a ban on providing resources to the targeted entities and persons. This means that EU citizens and companies must not make payments or supply goods and other assets to them. In effect, business transactions with designated companies and persons cannot legally be carried out.

In certain cases, national competent authorities can permit derogations from the asset freeze under specific exemptions, for instance to cover basic needs (such as foodstuffs, rent, medicines or taxes) or reasonable legal fees.

Where do EU sanctions apply?

By their very nature, sanctions are designed to have political effects in third countries. Nevertheless, EU restrictive measures only apply within the jurisdiction of the EU, that is:

􏰁 within EU territory, including its airspace;
􏰁 to EU nationals, whether or not they are in the EU;
􏰁 to companies and organisations incorporated under the law of a member state, whether or
not they are in the EU. This also includes branches of EU companies in third countries;
􏰁 to any business done in whole or in part within the European Union;
􏰁 on board of aircrafts or vessels under the jurisdiction of a member state.

The EU does not adopt legislation with extra-territorial application in breach of international law.

EU candidate countries are systematically invited to align themselves with EU restrictive measures.


EU Sanctions factsheet

Categories: EU Updates


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