Restrictive measures, or sanctions, are one of the EU's tools to promote the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). These include safe-guarding the EU's values, its fundamental interests and security; consolidating and supporting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law; preserving peace; preventing conflicts and strengthening international security.
On This Page
- Why are sanctions imposed?
- What types of sanctions can the EU adopt?
- Which EU sanctions regimes?
- How does the EU impose sanctions?
- Where do EU sanctions apply?
- Which other countries implement EU sanctions?
- Who is responsible for implementing EU sanctions?
- Which sanctions are in place?
- Example: EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime
Why are sanctions imposed?
EU sanctions do not target a country or population, but are always targeted at specific policies or activities, the means to conduct them and those responsible for them. Moreover, the EU makes every effort to minimise adverse consequences for the civilian population or for non-sanctioned activities or persons. They always form part of a wider, comprehensive policy approach involving political dialogue and complementary efforts. They are not punitive.
EU sanctions are reviewed at regular intervals. The Council of the EU decides whether sanctions should be renewed, amended or lifted. All legal acts related to EU sanctions are published in the Official Journal of the EU.
What types of sanctions can the EU adopt?
Restrictive measures imposed by the EU may target governments of third countries, or non-state entities (e.g. companies) and individuals (such as terrorist groups and terrorists). For a majority of sanctions regimes, measures are targeted at individuals and entities and consist of asset freezes and travel bans. The EU can also adopt sectoral measures, such as economic and financial measures (e.g. import and export restrictions, restrictions on banking services) or arms embargoes (prohibition on exporting goods set out in the EU`s common military list).
There are three types of sanctions regimes in place in the EU. First, there are sanctions imposed by the UN which the EU transposes into EU law. Secondly, the EU may reinforce UN sanctions by applying stricter and additional measures (e.g. vis-à-vis DPRK). Finally, the EU may also decide to impose fully autonomous sanctions regimes (e.g. vis-à-vis Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, Russia).
All sanctions adopted by the EU are fully compliant with obligations under international law including those regarding the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Which EU sanctions regimes?
There are over 30 EU autonomous and UN transposed sanctions regimes in place globally. For example, sanctions have been imposed in light of the situation in e.g.: Syria (see details), Iran (see details), Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela (see details), Libya, Russia and Ukraine (see details) as well as North Korea (see details).
In addition, the EU has also adopted horizontal regimes targeting: terrorism, cyber-attacks, proliferation and the use of chemical weapons.
For a full overview see the EU sanctions map
How does the EU impose sanctions?
The development of sanctions regimes is a complex process involving different actors. All decisions to adopt, amend, lift or renew sanctions are taken by the Council following examination in the relevant Council working groups. EU Member States are responsible for the implementation of all sanctions within their respective jurisdictions.
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy contributes through his/her proposals to the development of CFSP. Together with the Council, the HR ensures the unity, consistency and effectiveness of action by the EU in the area of the CFSP.
The European External Action Service (EEAS) assists the HR/VP in fulfilling his/her mandate and has a key role in the preparation, maintenance and review of sanctions, as well as in the communication and outreach activities concerning them in close cooperation with Member States, relevant EU delegations and the European Commission.
In the legislative process in the Council regarding sanctions, the EEAS has a particular role to play. This includes preparing, on behalf of the High Representative proposals for a decision, and jointly with the European Commission proposals for regulations which are subsequently reviewed and adopted by the Council. Decisions are binding on the Member States themselves. Regulations are directly applicable within the European Union and are binding on individuals and entities, including economic operators.
For its part the European Commission presents proposals, jointly with the High Representative for regulations. Once regulations are adopted the Commission works to facilitate their implementation in the EU and addresses questions of interpretation by economic operators.
The European Commission is responsible for ensuring the uniform application of sanctions.
Where do EU sanctions apply?
EU sanctions apply within the jurisdiction (territory) of the EU; to EU nationals in any location; to companies and organisations incorporated under the law of a Member State – including branches of EU companies in third countries; on board aircraft or vessels under Member States´ jurisdiction.
The EU refrains from adopting sanctions having extra-territorial application in breach of international law.
Which other countries implement EU sanctions?
EU candidate countries, European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area countries (e.g. Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine) are systematically invited to align themselves with EU restrictive measures. Countries that have aligned with a Council Decision ensure that their national policies conform to the Council Decision in question.
Who is responsible for implementing EU sanctions?
Implementation and enforcement of EU sanctions is primarily the responsibility of the EU Member States. The competent authorities in the Member States have to assess whether there has been a breach of the legislation and to take adequate steps.
The European Commission has prepared guidance on how to implement the provisions concerning sectoral cooperation and exchanges with Russia (the “economic” sanctions), as well as guidance regarding Crimea and Sevastopol, Iran, North Korea and Syria.
Which sanctions are in place?
Consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions
The consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions can be downloaded fromFinancial Sanctions Database - FSF platform accessible via the following address: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fsd/fsf
In order to access the FSF platformyou need to have an "EU Login" account.
Please follow the instructions provided on the EU Login page displayed when you click on the above link.
The correct application of financial sanctions is crucial in order to meet the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and especially to help prevent the financing of terrorism. The application of financial sanctions constitutes an obligation for both the public and private sector. In this regard, the EU assigns particular responsibility to credit and financial institutions, since they are involved in the bulk of financial transfers and transactions affected by the relevant Regulations.
In order to facilitate the application of financial sanctions, the European Banking Federation, the European Savings Banks Group, the European Association of Co-operative Banks and the European Association of Public Banks ("the EU Credit Sector Federations") and the Commission recognised the need for an EU consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to CFSP related financial sanctions. It was therefore agreed that the Credit Sector Federations would set up a database containing the consolidated list for the Commission, which would host and maintain the database and keep it up-to-date. This database was developed first and foremost to assist the members of the EU Credit Sector Federations in their compliance with financial sanctions.
Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure that the database and the consolidated list correctly reproduce all relevant data of the officially adopted texts published in the Official Journal of the European Union, neither the Commission nor the EU credit sector federations accepts any liability for possible omissions of relevant data or mistakes, and for any use made of the database or of the consolidated list. Only the information published in the Official Journal of the EU is deemed authentic.
Example: EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime
“Human rights are under attack around the world. The new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime will be a powerful tool to hold accountable those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses around the world. This is an opportunity for Europe not only to stand up for its values but to act”
“We need a global regime to gain more flexibility to go after human rights violators and abusers regardless of where they are. With the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, we will be able to proceed quicker and to be more efficient.”
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President for a Stronger Europe in the World
On 07/12/2020, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, which seeks to address serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. To do so, it can impose a travel ban and an asset freeze on individuals and entities responsible for or involved in violations and abuses such as crimes against humanity, torture, sexual and gender-based violence or the suppression of the freedom of religion or belief. For details, please see the links below.
The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is set out in two legal acts:
- Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1999 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses
- Council Regulation (EU) No 1998/2020 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses
The below EEAS Q&A and Commission guidance further explain the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime’s legal acts and assists EU citizens and economic operators in complying with the restrictive measures:
- European External Action Service (EEAS) “Questions and Answers on the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (EUGHRSR)”
- EN version
- FR version
- DE version
- AR version
- Commission Guidance Note on the Implementation of Certain Provisions of Regulation (EU) No 1998/2020
Remote video URL
For inquiries and suggestions you can contact the EEAS Sanctions Division (email@example.com).
Lebanon: EU extends framework for targeted sanctions
Russia: EU renews economic sanctions over Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine for further six months
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine: the EU targets additional 54 individuals and 10 entities
Sanctions: Council requests European Parliament consent to add the violation of restrictive measures to the list of EU crimes
European Council: Remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival
EU fight against terrorism: one group and three individuals added to the EU sanctions list over terrorism
EU sanctions against Russia to stop the war in Ukraine
Russia's aggression is driving a global food crisis
The EU has a new powerful tool to protect human rights: the EU global human rights sanctions regime
EU imposes first ever cyber sanctions to protect itself from cyber-attacks
- North Korea.
- South Sudan.
- Central African Republic.
The European External Action Service is led by the EU foreign affairs chief – or High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy. It is composed of: in Brussels – expert staff transferred from the Council of the EU, the European Commission and EU countries' diplomatic services.What authority is responsible for applying international sanctions in EU? ›
At present there are three main authorities imposing sanctions: the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).Is Eeas part of the commission? ›
Although it supports both the commission and the council, the EEAS is independent from them and has its own staff, as well as a separate section in the EU budget.How many countries have US sanctions? ›
Since 1998 the United States has imposed economic sanctions on more than 20 countries. These sanctions, according to Daniel T.What are examples of sanctions? ›
- Economic sanctions – typically a ban on trade, possibly limited to certain sectors such as armaments, or with certain exceptions (such as food and medicine)
- Diplomatic sanctions – the reduction or removal of diplomatic ties, such as embassies.
With a few exceptions, the EC has the legislative initiative in the EU's law-making procedure. With the exception of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the European Commission represents the Union in its external relations. The Commission is composed of a college of 27 members and the President of the Commission.How many EU institutions are there? ›
The EU has 7 main institutions, and the role of each one is set out in the treaties. This document outlines the different institutions and explains how they interact. The European Council brings together the heads of state or government of every EU country and decides on the political direction of the EU.Why is Norway not in the EU? ›
Norway had considered joining both the EEC and the European Union, but opted to decline following referendums in 1972 and 1994. According to the European Social Survey conducted in 2018, 73.6% of Norwegians would vote 'No' in a Referendum to join the European Union.What does putting sanctions on a country mean? ›
Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties applied by one or more countries against a targeted self-governing state, group, or individual. Economic sanctions are not necessarily imposed because of economic circumstances—they may also be imposed for a variety of political, military, and social issues.
Sanctions (sometimes known as watchlist checks) checks are specialised searches that include a number of international, government or regulators sanction databases that identify individuals who are prohibited from certain activities or industries.Who imposes sanctions in UK? ›
HM Treasury implements and enforces financial sanctions, through its Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI). OFSI helps to ensure that financial sanctions are properly understood, implemented and enforced in the UK.What is the difference between CFSP and CSDP? ›
The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is the European Union's (EU) course of action in the fields of defence and crisis management, and a main component of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).Does the EU have a foreign policy? ›
The EU's joint foreign and security policy, designed to resolve conflicts and foster international understanding, is based on diplomacy and respect for international rules. Trade, humanitarian aid, and development cooperation also play an important role in the EU's international role.Where is EU headquarters? ›
The European External Action Service welcomes group visits to its headquarters in Brussels.Has the US ever been sanctioned? ›
The United States of America had multiple sanctions imposed on them throughout history. Most recently, United States President Donald Trump has introduced economic sanctions in 2018 on multiple trade partners, including The People's Republic of China, Canada, the European Union and Mexico.How many countries sanction Russia? ›
More than 30 countries have imposed sanctions against Russia, cutting energy imports, blocking financial transactions and halting shipments of key imports, such as semiconductors and other electronics. As a result, over 1,000 foreign companies have halted operations in Russia.Did the US sanction China? ›
From 2020 onward, the US imposed sanctions and visa restrictions against several Chinese government officials and companies, in response to allegations of a genocide against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang and human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Tibet.What happens when a person is sanctioned? ›
Sanctions, in law and legal definition, are penalties or other means of enforcement used to provide incentives for obedience with the law, or with rules and regulations. Criminal sanctions can take the form of serious punishment, such as corporal or capital punishment, incarceration, or severe fines.Why are sanctions imposed? ›
Sanctions and embargoes are political trade tools, mainly put in place by the United Nations ( UN ) and the European Union ( EU ). The main aim of all UN sanctions and embargoes, as set out in the UN Charter, is to implement decisions by its Security Council to maintain or restore international peace and security.
a punishment given when someone does not obey a rule or a law: criminal/legal sanctions.Who controls the EU? ›
The European Council sets the EU's main political priorities and overall policy direction. It is chaired by a president who is elected every 2½ years. The European Council does not pass EU laws.Does the EU have a government? ›
The EU is governed by the principle of representative democracy, with citizens directly represented at EU level in the European Parliament and Member States represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU.What power does the EU Commission have? ›
The European Commission is the sole EU body capable of proposing new legislation. The Commission also performs an oversight function, monitoring whether European legislation is properly implemented in the member states.Which is the most powerful EU institution? ›
71. The Commission is the most powerful institution in the EU but the Court of Justice is the most important.Why did the UK leave the EU? ›
Polls found that the main reasons people voted Leave were "the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK", and that leaving "offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders."What are the 3 capitals of the EU? ›
The seven institutions of the European Union (EU) are seated in four different cities, which are Brussels (Belgium), Frankfurt am Main (Germany), Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and Strasbourg (France), rather than being concentrated in a single capital city.Why hasn't Switzerland joined the EU? ›
It signed the agreement on 2 May 1992, and submitted an application for accession to the EU on 20 May 1992. However, after a Swiss referendum held on 6 December 1992 rejected EEA membership by 50.3% to 49.7%, the Swiss government decided to suspend negotiations for EU membership until further notice.Why did Norway leave NATO? ›
Its refusal to host NATO bases from the very start stemmed from the delicate balancing act it had to pursue as a Western Ally with one of the biggest industrial-military power houses of the Soviet Union literally at its doorstep in the Kola Peninsula.Why did Iceland not join the EU? ›
Academics have proposed several explanations for why Iceland has not joined the European Union: The importance of the fishing industry to Iceland's economy and the perception that EU membership (and its Common Fisheries Policy) will have an adverse effect on the fishing industry.
Which of the following would be the most immediate effect of sanctions on a country? Citizens are unable to buy needed goods.When did America start sanctioning Russia? ›
On 19 December 2014, US president Obama imposed sanctions on Russian-occupied Crimea by executive order prohibiting exports of US goods and services to the region.Are sanctions always negative? ›
Sanctions can either be positive ( rewards ) or negative (punishment). Sanctions can arise from either formal or informal control. With informal sanctions, ridicule or ostracism can realign a straying individual towards norms. Informal sanctions may include shame, ridicule, sarcasm, criticism, and disapproval.What is sanction process? ›
• A Sanctions Screening Programme is a combination of policies, procedures and technologies that enable a financial institution to ensure that it does not provide any form of services to sanctioned parties, directly or indirectly. •How is sanction screening done? ›
Sanctions screening compares an organization's reference or transactional data such as customer data, business partner data, and payments data with the data of sanctions lists to flag any indicators of overlap with sanctioned parties.What is a sanction letter? ›
A home loan sanction letter is an official document issued by a lending organisation to customers stating that their loan is approved. The lender issues the sanction letter after verifying the home loan applicant's details such as credit history, income, repayment capacity etc.What sanctions have the UK put on Russia? ›
- asset freezes against Sberbank and Credit Bank of Moscow. ...
- an outright ban on all new outward investment to Russia. ...
- by the end of 2022, the UK will end all dependency on Russian coal and oil, and end imports of gas as soon as possible thereafter.
The UK government publishes the UK Sanctions List, which provides details of those designated under regulations made under the Sanctions Act. The list also details which sanctions measures apply to these persons or ships, and in the case of UK designations, provides a statement of reasons for the designation.Who Do US sanctions apply to? ›
U.S. persons must comply with OFAC regulations, including all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, all U.S. incorporated entities and their foreign branches.Do EU countries have to defend each other? ›
The EU's Mutual Defence Clause — Article 42.7 in the Treaty of Lisbon — was approved in 2007 and has been in force since 2009. It states that "if an EU country is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other EU countries have an obligation to aid and assist it by all means in their power."
This clause provides that if an EU country is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other EU countries have an obligation to aid and assist it by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This obligation of mutual defence is binding on all EU countries.Does the EU have a military? ›
While the U.S. military uses just 30 weapons systems, the E.U.'s militaries use some 180, six times as many. While the U.S. armed forces use just one main battle tank, the E.U.What relationship does the EU have with NATO? ›
NATO and the European Union (EU) are essential partners who share common values, strategic interests and a majority of member nations. Over the last five years, the two organisations have developed closer cooperation, focused on concrete results and improved security for European citizens.Which challenges does the European Union face today? ›
The four most mentioned challenges facing the EU itself are social inequalities (36%), unemployment (32%), followed by migration issues (31%). Like with the global challenges, environmental issues and climate change also feature high on the list of challenges facing the EU, mentioned by 32% of respondents.Is EU foreign policy effective? ›
Introduction. The European Union's (EU's) foreign policy remains weak and underdeveloped compared to its other projects. While the reforms of the Lisbon Treaty have, to some extent, strengthened the capacities of the union, its overall international position has weakened in the ten years since the treaty's signing.What is the difference between NATO and the EU? ›
NATO is a military, defensive organization. The EU is an economic and political one with vast resources to make a difference to its own members and to its neighbors. Both organizations can complement each other, with NATO focusing on military operations and the EU on civilian missions.What countries are not in EU? ›
- Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Although these countries are not members of the EU, their nationals can work in the EU on the same footing as EU nationals, since they belong to the European Economic Area. ...
- Switzerland. ...
- Turkey. ...
- Other countries that have an agreement with the EU. ...
- Countries with no agreement.
European UnionWhich countries have sanctions against Russia? ›
International sanctions have been imposed during the Russo-Ukrainian War by a large number of countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union against Russia and Crimea following the Russian annexation of Crimea, which began in late February 2014.How often is the UN sanctions list updated? ›
The lists keep updated every 15 minutes. The lists and data Sanction Scanner use are compatible with all regional sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering regulations.
Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties applied by one or more countries against a targeted self-governing state, group, or individual. Economic sanctions are not necessarily imposed because of economic circumstances—they may also be imposed for a variety of political, military, and social issues.How many sanctions are on Russia? ›
More than 30 countries have imposed sanctions against Russia, cutting energy imports, blocking financial transactions and halting shipments of key imports, such as semiconductors and other electronics.How long do sanctions last for? ›
|Number of low-level sanctions||Duration|
|First time||7 days (1 week)|
|Second time||14 days (2 weeks)|
|Third time||28 days (4 weeks)|
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States, the European Union, and other countries introduced or significantly expanded sanctions to include Vladimir Putin and other government members, and cut off "selected Russian banks" from the SWIFT network triggering the 2022 Russian financial ...Is a sanction a law? ›
Sanctions, in law and legal definition, are penalties or other means of enforcement used to provide incentives for obedience with the law, or with rules and regulations. Criminal sanctions can take the form of serious punishment, such as corporal or capital punishment, incarceration, or severe fines.Who imposes sanctions in UK? ›
HM Treasury implements and enforces financial sanctions, through its Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI). OFSI helps to ensure that financial sanctions are properly understood, implemented and enforced in the UK.What is OFAC sanction list? ›
OFAC Sanctions Lists
OFAC publishes lists of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific.
The United States of America had multiple sanctions imposed on them throughout history. Most recently, United States President Donald Trump has introduced economic sanctions in 2018 on multiple trade partners, including The People's Republic of China, Canada, the European Union and Mexico.Who Do US sanctions apply to? ›
U.S. persons must comply with OFAC regulations, including all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, all U.S. incorporated entities and their foreign branches.What does it mean when someone is sanctioned? ›
a punishment given when someone does not obey a rule or a law: criminal/legal sanctions.
Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said the government was now forecasting a 2.9% contraction in Russia's GDP for 2022, Russian news agencies reported - an improvement on its August prediction of a 4.2% annual decline.How many Russians have left Russia? ›
In this third wave alone, nearly 300,000 Russian citizens have left Russia. Many have gone to Kazakhstan, Serbia, Georgia and Finland. Putin signed a decree introducing prison terms of up to 15 years for wartime acts, including voluntary surrender and desertion during mobilization or war.How many states does Russia have? ›
Russia is a federation of 86 republics, provinces, territories, and districts, all controlled by the government in Moscow. The head of state is a president elected by the people.