EU Parliament Approves Stricter Sanctions Enforcement

World » EU | Author: Diana Kavardzhikova |March 12, 2024, Tuesday // 15:19
Bulgaria: EU Parliament Approves Stricter Sanctions Enforcement

In a bid to bolster enforcement of European Union (EU) sanctions against third countries, the European Parliament has approved stringent measures, making the circumvention and violation of these sanctions a criminal offense punishable by a minimum prison sentence of five years. This move comes in response to concerns over the effectiveness of existing sanctions regimes, with only 12 EU member states currently having laws criminalizing violations of European restrictive measures.

The rapporteur for the European Parliament, Sophie in’t Veld, highlighted the need for stronger enforcement mechanisms, noting that some countries, like Cyprus, have lagged in freezing assets and accounts of sanctioned individuals. She emphasized that the lack of uniformity in sanctions enforcement has allowed sanctioned entities to exploit legal loopholes and evade penalties.

The new directive targets various activities, including the unfreezing of assets, violating travel bans and arms embargoes, and providing prohibited economic and financial services. It also addresses issues such as transferring funds to evade sanctions and providing false information to conceal frozen assets.

Under the new rules, all EU member states are required to amend their criminal codes within 18 months to include minimum penalties for sanctions violations. Additionally, each member state must designate an authority to oversee coordination with other states on sanctions enforcement.

While the directive was prompted by sanctions against Russia in response to the conflict in Ukraine, it will apply to all EU sanctions imposed on individuals and organizations from third countries. The aim is to harmonize sanctions enforcement across member states and close legal loopholes that have allowed for circumvention.

In light of the European Parliament's decision, the EU is poised to strengthen its ability to impose and enforce sanctions, signaling a tougher stance on non-compliance with EU foreign policy measures.

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Tags: parliament, sanctions, EU, violations

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