European Union: Overview, Adoption, and Enforcement of Sanctions Legislation

Posted in Sanctions Compliance on April 8, 2024
European Union

In the European Union or EU, the sanctions are called restrictive measures. The EU’s restrictive measures are prepared by the European External Action Service and agreed upon by the Council of the European Union. According to official sources, such a restricted measure is adopted to “bring about a change in policy or conduct of those targeted, to promote the objectives of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.” 

European Union

The European Union

According to the guidelines on best practices of the EU, the EU aims to adopt sanctions in a manner that conforms to international law and is especially concerned with sanctions that may negatively impact human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the general well-being of persons.

The EU adopts sanctions through decisions made by the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Before going to the policy, the proposed sanction is examined and discussed by a regional preparatory body. Next, it works its way through the Working Party of Foreign Relations Counsellors, the Political and Security Committee, or PSC, and the Committee of Permanent Representatives, or COREPER II. After making it that far, the resolution must be unanimously adopted by the CFSP. Upon being published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the sanction goes into effect.

There is a wide range of possible restrictive measures which could be imposed by the EU. When deciding on restrictive measures, it is important to measure and is most appropriate to promote the desired outcome. It may include diplomatic sanctions, financial sanctions, suspension of cooperation with a third country, restrictions on admission, etc.

Because of the economic significance, the application of economic and financial sanctions can be a powerful tool. At the same time, broad economic or financial restrictions may result in unduly high economic and humanitarian costs. Economic and financial restrictive measures, including targeted financial sanctions, have to be applied by all persons and entities doing business in the EU, including nationals of non-EU countries, and also by EU nationals and entities incorporated or constituted under the law of EU member states, when doing business outside the EU.

European Union

That’s the reason why EU has often imposed targeted financial sanctions, which can be designed to target specific persons, groups, and entities responsible for objectionable policies or behavior. Such sanctions usually comprise both an obligation to freeze all funds and economic resources of the targeted persons and entities and a prohibition on making funds or economic resources available directly or indirectly to or for the benefit of these persons and entities.

Final Thoughts

The European Union is a supranational political and economic union comprised of 27 member states primarily located in Europe. The union has a total area of 4,233,255.3 km2 (1,634,469.0 sq mi) and a population of nearly 447 million people. The EU has been described as a sui generis without precedent or comparison, political entity that combines the characteristics of both a federation and a confederation.