EU Restrictive Measures

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Authorising EU restrictive measures

Sanctions at EU level constitute a political tool under the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Being political decisions, the EU treaties do not provide the same safeguards as they do for legislative acts, nor do they regulate the conditions or instances of sanctions imposition, the decision being subject to negotiations between Member State representatives in the Council of the European Union (the Council).

The procedure to adopt sanctions is triggered by a proposal from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRFASP).[2] Relevant preparatory bodies of the Council, such as the Council working party responsible for that geographical region, the Working Party of Foreign Relations Counsellors (RELEX) and, if required, the Political and Security Committee (PSC), will examine and discuss the proposed measures. The Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union II[3] will take the final decision within the Council by unanimity.[4] Once agreement is reached, the Council will adopt the decision to impose EU restrictive measures, which will then be published in the Official Journal.

If the decision entails economic or financial measures (such as asset freezes or trade sanctions), the Council will have to subsequently follow the procedure laid out in Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and adopt an implementing regulation by qualified majority. The subsequent adoption of an implementing regulation for economic or financial measures is necessary, as the Council’s decisions are binding only on EU Member States, whereas regulations are binding upon any person or entity within the EU.

The procedure for adoption of the implementing regulation is triggered by the joint proposal from the HRFASP and the Commission, which will be analysed by the relevant Council preparatory bodies – the working party responsible for the relevant geographical region, RELEX and, if required, PSC. The Foreign Affairs Council will need to approve the text by qualified majority. Once adopted, the regulation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union and the Council informs the European Parliament about the act.

The two procedures usually take place in parallel, such that the Council’s decision and the implementing regulation are adopted together.

Design and implementation

First, restrictive measures are a tool for the EU to advance one or more of its CFSP objectives as laid out in Article 21(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). For example, restrictive measures can be deployed as a means to safeguard EU values and fundamental interests, or to support democracy, the rule of law and human rights.[5]

Second, although sanctions are applied through non-legislative acts, their design and implementation must comply with EU principles, international law and fundamental rights. This is clearly set out in the Sanctions Guidelines adopted by the General Secretariat of the Council.[6]

As such, the restrictive measures should be proportionate, in accordance with the EU principle laid out in Article 5(4) of the TEU. The imposed measures should not go beyond what is necessary to attain their objective. Proportionality is reflected in the incremental manner in which the EU adopts sanctions, by gradually increasing the degree of restrictions until the CFSP objective is attained.

In addition, the restrictive measures adopted must comply with international law. For example, the measures must respect the fundamental right to an effective remedy under Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the international obligations assumed under the World Trade Organization agreements.

Lastly, the restrictive measures must respect the EU’s fundamental and human rights. This requirement was made evident in the Kadi I and Kadi II cases,[7] where the EU Court of Justice annulled the restrictive measures implementing a United Nations Security Council resolution for a breach of the rights of defence, in particular the right to be heard, and the right to an effective judicial review.

Designation process

Required information

First, the Council will strive to obtain as much information as it can on the identity of a person or entity. With regard to natural persons, the Council will seek to obtain the name and surname of the person, any aliases, gender, date and place of birth, nationality, address and identification or passport number.[8] Concerning entities, the Council will aim to obtain their name, place of business and registration, and date and number of registration.[9]

In addition, the Council decides on specific listings based on the listing criteria set out in the relevant Council decision and regulation imposing the measures in question. The Council must rely on a sufficiently solid factual basis proving that the listing criteria are met.[10] The Council’s decision will be accompanied by explanations concerning the listing, in accordance with the duty to state reasons.[11]

Any information and evidence that helps create a sufficient factual basis can inform the Council’s assessment. The information and evidence that was relied upon by the Council will not be shared with the ‘designated person’, although the latter will receive a notification concerning its listing. In the case of a dispute before the EU courts, the Council will have to produce, at the court’s request, all the information and evidence (whether confidential or not) that formed the basis of the decision.[12] The court will verify the accuracy of the alleged facts in light of the information and evidence provided by the Council and the designated person.

Entities subject to restrictive measures

When economic sanctions are imposed, as well as targeting the funds and economic resources of designated persons and entities, the restrictions will generally also include the assets of affiliated entities, which are owned or controlled by the designated persons or entities. This is also the case regarding the prohibition on making available funds and economic resources to listed persons or entities.

The notions of ‘ownership’ and ‘control’ are defined in the EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures (the EU Best Practices).[13] According to the EU Best Practices, ownership is presumed if a designated person or entity is in possession of more than 50 per cent of the proprietary rights of a company, or has a majority interest in it.[14] Controlling a person refers to a designated person being able to effectively assert a decisive influence over the conduct of another entity, with a broad list of non-exhaustive criteria contained in the EU Best Practices as well as other EU guidance.[15]

EU restrictive measures can also include the freezing of assets of natural or legal persons, entities or bodies ‘associated’ with designated persons. While the criterion of association is not defined by law, the EU courts have held that association occurs whenever there is a common interest between the designated person and a third person or where there is an economic or capital link between the designated person and a third person.[16] Conversely, the EU courts have held that family ties are not sufficient by themselves to meet the criterion of association, as restrictive measures cannot be applied independently of the personal behaviour of a person or entity.[17]

On ‘association’, it is also worth noting that the EU’s sanctions lists (i.e., the Annexes to the relevant sanctions regulation) often explicitly name the persons or entities that are considered to be associated with a listed person.[18] However, according to the Commission,[19] strictly speaking, only the persons and entities that are listed themselves (these typically appear under the ‘Name’ column in the relevant Annex) are directly subject to an asset freeze and a prohibition to make funds and economic resources available, and not the persons or entities associated with them (which are mentioned in the ‘Identifying information’ or ‘Reasons’ column). That being said, according to the Commission, ‘[o]perators need to exert the highest caution when dealing with associated persons or entities’, especially as they may be ‘deemed to be owned or controlled by listed persons or entities’.[20]

Finally, restrictive measures can target natural or legal persons acting ‘on behalf’ or ‘at the direction’ of a designated person. The notions of acting ‘on behalf’ or ‘at the direction’ are distinct from those of ‘ownership’ or ‘control’. However, the Commission has interpreted the two notions as being on ‘equal footing’ in terms of their effects.[21]

Ownership and control analysis

As explained above, ownership is assessed based on proprietary rights. If a person or entity is in the possession of more than 50 per cent of the proprietary rights of another entity, or has a majority interest therein, ownership is presumed.[22]

Control is assessed case by case, on the basis of a number of criteria laid out in the EU Best Practices.[23] Control can be established when the designated person:

  1. has the right or exercises ‘the power to appoint or remove a majority of the members of the administrative, management or supervisory body of such legal person or entity’;
  2. has appointed solely as a result of the exercise of its ‘voting rights a majority of the members of the administrative, management or supervisory bodies of a legal person or entity who have held office during the present and previous financial year’;
  3. controls alone, ‘pursuant to an agreement with other shareholders in or members of a legal person or entity, a majority of shareholders’ or members’ voting rights in that legal person or entity’;
  4. has ‘the right to exercise a dominant influence over a legal person or entity, pursuant to an agreement entered into with that legal person or entity, or to a provision in its Memorandum or Articles of Association, where the law governing that legal person or entity permits its being subject to such agreement or provision’;
  5. has the power or right ‘to exercise a dominant influence referred to in point [(4)], without being the holder of that right’;
  6. has ‘the right to use all or part of the assets of a legal person or entity’;
  7. manages ‘the business of a legal person or entity on a unified basis, while publishing consolidated accounts’; and
  8. shares ‘jointly and severally the financial liabilities of a legal person or entity, or guaranteeing them’.

Meeting any of the above criteria would be sufficient for an authority to consider that a legal person or entity is controlled by another, unless the former manages to prove otherwise. Both ownership and control may be rebutted on a case-by-case basis.

It is also worth mentioning that other guidance by the European Commission[24] lists additional criteria that can be taken into account to establish control. These are somewhat broader, as they include, for instance, ‘having influence as regards corporate strategy, operational policy, business plans, investment, capacity, provision of finance, human resources and legal matters’.[25]

Licensing

Overview

When restrictive measures are imposed, they are generally accompanied by a series of exemptions and derogations. The implementation and enforcement of EU sanctions is the responsibility of the EU Member States. Their national authorities are also competent to grant authorisation (licensing) for specific derogations provided for in the relevant sanctions regimes. Under the EU Best Practices, national authorities should exchange information with each other on whether an authorisation is granted,[26] and similar requirements are sometimes found in specific EU sanctions legislation. The exchange of information is intended to allow Member States to coordinate the granting of authorisations and to prevent forum shopping.

In terms of sanctions designations, authorisations for a particular derogation can be requested by either the designated person or another interested person. Generally speaking, a licence is granted by national competent authorities to safeguard a fundamental right of the designated persons or another interest of general or EU importance (such as food security). Depending on the specific derogations of each sanctions regime, the competent authorities will assess one of the following when granting an authorisation:

  • the basic needs of the designated persons, including in relation to payments for foodstuffs, rent or mortgage, medicines and medical treatment, taxes, insurance premiums and public utility charges;
  • the protection of the right of defence in relation to expenses associated with the provision of legal services;
  • right of ownership of the designated person or entity (as the freezing of assets does not affect the ownership of the designated person or entity, but the ability to use the funds);
  • right of ownership of the non-designated legal person or entity where the frozen funds are held;
  • right of ownership of both the designated person or entity and a non-designated person or entity in relation to contracts concluded between them before the designation;
  • international law on diplomatic and consular relations;
  • human safety and environmental protection; or
  • humanitarian purposes, such as delivering or facilitating the delivery of assistance, including medical supplies, food or the transfer of humanitarian workers and related assistance, or for evacuations from a targeted country.[27]

When a request for an authorisation is submitted, the national competent authorities can undertake any investigations they consider necessary and may consult with other Member States. Before granting an authorisation, national authorities must consider whether any accompanying additional limitations or requirements are necessary to fend off the risk of circumvention (e.g., making economic resources available each month instead of a large quantity at once). All licences must be granted in writing and prior to making use of the economic resources. Failure to comply with the requirement will be considered a breach of the relevant regulation and may lead to criminal penalties for the persons or entities involved.

When third parties are creditors with a valid claim against the designated person, they will also be able to obtain authorisation in accordance with the applicable rules of the relevant national authority. The competent authorities shall notify the designated person and shall examine the validity of the claims. In doing so, the competent authorities will examine the evidence provided by both the interested party (as a creditor) and the designated person (as a debtor), to decide whether there is a valid legal obligation and a risk of circumvention.

Licensing also exists for certain trade sanctions, and the conditions and procedure may vary depending on the sanctions regime and specific restriction in question.

Trends and commonalities

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting recurrent waves of EU sanctions packages being imposed on Russia have resulted in a transformation of EU sanctions policy. The level of restrictive measures imposed on such a close trading partner is unprecedented. As compared to other sanctions packages, the EU sanctions on Russia have been imposed at an extraordinary pace. It has also resulted in a heightened focus on the implementation and enforcement of EU restrictive measures, at EU Member State level, as well as by the European Commission. The European Commission has made many efforts to increase sanctions coordination between EU Member States (for example, the Freeze and Seize Task Force, to coordinate actions to freeze and, where applicable, confiscate assets of Russian and Belarussian oligarchs,[28] and the EU Sanctions Whistleblower Tool, through which past, ongoing or planned EU sanctions violations can be reported).[29]

In parallel, as a result of the EU sanctions on Russia, the substance of EU sanctions has evolved in ways that would, in the past, have been inconceivable (for example, stand-alone sanctions on certain key services, such as legal advisory services).[30] Other important examples are the introduction of the notion of ‘deemed exports’ in the context of EU sanctions, or the facilitation of sanctions circumvention as a basis for EU sanctions designations. Many of these novel notions have been introduced through an unprecedented level of sanctions guidance issued at EU level.[31]

Another trend is an increasing focus on addressing the circumvention of restrictive measures, beginning in 2022, when the Commission issued a notice advising EU economic operators, importers and exporters to take adequate due diligence measures to prevent circumvention of the EU sanctions on Russia.[32] Around the same time, pursuant to Commission guidance regarding due diligence in the context of the EU sanctions on Russia, EU operators have been recommended to put in place a risk-based approach that consists of risk assessment, multi-level due diligence and ongoing monitoring.[33] Subsequently, in the context of the eight EU sanctions packages on Russia, new listing criteria were added allowing for the designation of persons or entities that facilitate the circumvention of EU sanctions against Russia.[34]

Finally, the Commission is currently preparing its 11th sanctions package against Russia, which reportedly may target third countries as well as foreign entities that enable the circumvention of EU sanctions. With these measures, the EU would take another step away from its traditional concept of non-extraterritoriality of EU sanctions. However, this proposal is controversial and it is uncertain whether it would be adopted.[35]

Case studies

Luxembourg

On 20 December 2022, the Ministry of Finance in Luxembourg granted a general authorisation for the release of funds deposited by the sanctioned Russian National Settlement Depository through Clearstream, a clearing house located in Luxembourg.[36]

The authorisation was granted under the provision of Article 6b(5) of Regulation (EU) No. 269/2014, which allows the release of certain frozen funds for the termination by 7 January 2023, of operations, contracts or other agreements concluded before 3 June 2022.

As such, the authorisation enabled any interested persons (investors or entrepreneurs) to rely on it and obtain, until 7 January 2023, the transfer of their financial resources from the Russian National Settlement Depository to other depositories, for operations, contracts or agreements that were concluded prior to 3 June 2022.

Finland

On 22 March 2023, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted an individual export authorisation for a Cyprus-flagged ship carrying fertiliser,[37] after detaining it to investigate the origins of its cargo and possible violations of EU sanctions. The subsequent investigation carried out by Finnish authorities confirmed that there was a link between the shipment of fertiliser and a sanctioned individual.

The authorisation was granted under Article 6e(1a) of Regulation (EU) No. 269/2014, which allows the release of economic resources belonging to designated persons and entities to promote and safeguard food security.

Of note, to promote food security and further streamline the supply of products, the Commission issued a guidance note[38] on measures designed to allow non-designated EU entities engaged in agricultural and food trade – owned or controlled by Russian entities – to decouple from sanctioned designated persons. Once an entity implements the Commission’s recommended measures, it will be presumed that the designated person or entity cannot exert further control over it. As such, the non-designated entity will be discharged from the obligation to obtain authorisation from national competent authorities.

Challenging designations

Delisting takes place whenever the initial listing reasons are no longer met. This can happen if a listing was made erroneously (e.g., against the wrong person or entity), due to a subsequent change of facts or as a result of further evidence that proves that listing was not called for in the first place.[39]

A request for delisting must be addressed to the General Secretariat of the Council, together with any supporting evidence.[40] The relevant process is typically set out in the notice to the listed persons informing them about their designation and specifying the date by which the delisting request must be made.[41] The request should be made in writing to the Council of the European Union or via email and must comply with the review process laid out in the relevant notice.

A preliminary assessment of a delisting request will be conducted by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Council Legal Service. Following that, the Council Secretariat will forward the request and the preliminary analysis to the appropriate regional working party for consideration.[42]

A listing or delisting decision may be subject to an action for annulment before the General Court of the European Union. The legal basis for lodging a claim is provided in Articles 275 and 263 of the TFEU, which allow the EU courts to review the legality of these decisions.

In the case of a wrongful listing, an interested party would have the possibility to lodge an action for damages under Article 340 of the TFEU before the General Court, to receive compensation for the damages suffered as a result of the listing. For example, damages can result whenever the assets of a person or entity are frozen. The action for damages must be lodged within five years of the listing taking place.[43] The person claiming the damages will need to demonstrate: (1) unlawful conduct of the institution in the light of EU law; (2) the existence of real and certain damage; and (3) the existence of a causal link between the conduct and the damages claimed.

Monitoring, appraisal and termination of restrictive measures

Monitoring of EU restrictive measures is carried out periodically by the Council, assisted by the EEAS, the Commission and the EU heads of missions, in accordance with the specific provisions of the regulations. This allows the Council to further tailor the measures, to ensure their effectiveness in relation to the desired objectives.

RELEX meets regularly in its specific ‘Sanctions formation’ to discuss sanctions implementation and exchange experiences in the application of restrictive measures with experts from Member States. Among other things, RELEX will collect information on alleged circumvention of sanctions, exchange information and experiences on implementation of specific measures, and assist in evaluating the results and challenges of implementing the restrictive measures.[44]

EU sanctions are adopted for a limited period (e.g., one year), following which the application of restrictive measures comes to an end. Before the expiry date, the Council will have to decide whether or not to further extend the measures. If, during the monitoring of sanctions, the Council considers that the objectives of the sanctions were attained and that the application of restrictive measures is no longer required, it will decide not to extend the measures.

Remedies against a Council decision to extend the restrictive measures are provided in Articles 275 and 263 of the TFEU. However, even if an application for annulment is successful, it is likely that by the time the applicant obtains the annulment of the decision to extend the measure, another decision on extension would have already taken place.

Recent trends

Belarus

EU sanctions against Belarus have been in place since 2006; they were previously imposed in response to human rights violations taking place in Belarus (violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, opposition members and journalists, among others). In 2022, the EU imposed additional sanctions against Belarus, this time in response to the country’s involvement in Russia’s war against Ukraine. These measures included additional trade restrictions, individual designations and a SWIFT ban on certain Belarussian banks.

On 3 June 2022, the EU adopted its new round of restrictive measures against Belarus, targeting an additional 12 individuals and eight entities for internal repression and human rights abuses.[45] In addition, on 27 February 2023, the Council decided during its annual review to extend until 28 February 2024 the restrictive measures adopted for internal repression and support for the war against Ukraine. In total, the measures concern a freeze of assets of 195 individuals and 35 entities. Several trade sanctions were also imposed.

The restrictive measures against Belarus have not changed greatly since 2022, unlike those against Russia, which is likely in view of what appeared to be limited escalation of Belarus’ support to Russia. However, in early 2023, there were discussions among EU diplomats about aligning the sanctions against Belarus with those that are in place against Russia. Furthermore, it is possible that the EU will adopt additional restrictive measures, following Belarus’ decision to allow Russia to deploy its tactical nuclear weapons on its territory.

China

Since the imposition of sanctions against four Chinese officials and one entity for alleged human rights violations on 22 March 2021,[46] the EU has not imposed any new restrictive measures. However, it has been reported that the adoption of the EU’s 11th sanctions package against Russia may target a number of Chinese companies alleged to have supported Russia’s war efforts. In addition, the EU may impose additional restrictive measures on exports, following the EU’s ‘de-risking’ approach announced by the Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen during the EU Parliamentary debate, ‘The need for a coherent strategy for EU–China Relations’.[47] Lastly, additional restrictions may be indirectly imposed by the EU against China, following the enforcement of the anti-circumvention tool announced in the EU’s 11th sanctions package against Russia. This effectively enables the EU to target third countries that enable Russia to circumvent sanctions.

Myanmar

Over recent years, the EU has been steadily increasing the restrictive measures against Myanmar. On 20 February 2023, the EU decided to adopt a sixth round of sanctions against it, targeting an additional nine individuals and seven entities for grave human rights violations and threats to peace, security and stability.[48] On 28 April 2023, the Council decided to extend the restrictive measures applicable against Myanmar until 30 April 2024.[49]

Russia

Prior to 2022, the EU had existing sanctions in place against Russia, which had been imposed in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. However, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, those measures have been increased exponentially and are considered to be unprecedented for a number of reasons.

Breadth and variety of measures imposed

The restrictive measures imposed on Russia since 2022 have been unique in terms of their breadth and variety. Between February 2022 and February 2023, 10 sanctions packages were adopted in total, which were extensive and diverse both in terms of the types of measures imposed and the sectors targeted.

Notably, this was the first time that the EU had imposed such comprehensive sanctions measures against a major trading partner. In 2021, before the adoption of the recent sanctions, Russia was the EU’s fifth largest trading partner, while the EU was Russia’s largest trading partner. Given the interconnectedness of the two economies, the far-reaching sanctions adopted by the EU have had a significant impact not only on the Russian economy but also on the EU economy, especially due to the long-standing reliance of the EU on Russia’s energy imports.

Significant sanctions despite unanimity requirement

Another notable element of the recent EU sanctions against Russia is the fact that the Member States succeeded in negotiating such severe measures rather rapidly, despite the unanimity requirement, which has historically slowed down the sanctions adoption process. This is even more remarkable considering the close links between the EU and the Russian economy and the diverging economic interests of Member States.

Moreover, even when certain Member States expressed opposition to some of the measures proposed, the EU has come up with new ways of finding compromise, either by adopting new forms of restrictions (other than outright bans) or introducing special exemptions or derogations for specific Member States. An example of the foregoing were the EU sanctions against Russian imports of oil, which were controversial among certain Member States. To achieve unanimous approval, the EU imposed a ban on seaborne oil to enter into force by the end of 2022, while pipeline crude oil was temporarily exempted, as a concession to Hungary. Moreover, special temporary derogations were recognised for both Bulgaria and Croatia. In addition, the EU did not ban the transport of oil to third countries because of economic concerns expressed by Greece, Malta and Cyprus, but introduced a price cap instead.

Increased focus on implementation and enforcement

The 2022 restrictive measures on Russia have also prompted an increased focus on the implementation and enforcement of measures, both on the part of the Commission and of the competent authorities of EU Member States. While in the past, the enforcement of sanctions has not been a key priority, authorities in Member States have significantly increased their enforcement efforts since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Commission has issued an unprecedented level of guidance in relation to the restrictive measures on Russia[50] to facilitate the different Member States’s interpretation of the measures in a way that is as harmonised as possible. The Commission has also taken several steps to coordinate enforcement of the measures by the EU Member States (for instance, by setting up the Freeze and Seize Task Force and launching the EU Sanctions Whistleblower Tool,[51] through which EU sanctions violations can be anonymously reported).

Recently, the EU has been increasingly concerned with, and seeking to come up with ways to tackle, sanctions circumvention. The 11th sanctions package that is currently being negotiated is reported to be significant in that regard, by introducing a number of novel instruments to address this issue, including introducing restrictions to trade with third countries that are deemed to be enabling Russia to circumvent sanctions, and imposing additional restrictions on the transit of certain goods through Russia.

Conclusion

Sanctions have become an increasingly important area of EU law and policy in recent years, especially with the EU making unprecedented use of these measures since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The impact of the EU’s Russia sanctions policy is likely to have a lasting change on EU sanctions, including existing and future measures imposed on other countries. Going forward, the EU’s sanctions policy is likely to focus on enforcement and tackling circumvention, with the focus remaining on Russia. However, other third countries that the EU considers are facilitating Russia’s war are increasingly in the EU’s cross hairs. The question remains as to what extent the EU will continue to increasingly rely on sanctions to tackle further foreign policy concerns.


Footnotes

[1] Renato Antonini and Eva Monard are partners, Byron Maniatis is a senior associate and Elli Zachari is a legal consultant at Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

[2] See Article 27(1) of the Treaty on European Union, OJ C 326, 26 October 2012 (TE).

[3] Foreign Affairs Council – Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union II.

[4] See Article 2 et seq. of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, OJ L 325, 11 December 2009. See also Articles 24(1) and 31(1), TEU.

[5] See Article 21(2), TEU.

[6] See Guidelines on implementation and evaluation of restrictive measures (sanctions) in the framework of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (doc. 15579/03), paragraphs 8–12, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-5664-2018-INIT/en/pdf.

[7] Case C-402/05 P, Kadi v. Council and Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2008:461; Case C-584/10 P, Commission and Others v. Kadi, ECLI:EU:C:2013:518 (Kadi II).

[8] See EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures, paragraph 5, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-10572-2022-INIT/en/pdf.

[9] ibid.

[10] See, to that effect, Case C-539/10 P, Al-Aqsa v. Council and Netherlands v. Al-Aqsa, ECLI:EU:C:2012:711, paragraph 68.

[11] See Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

[12] See Kadi II, paragraph 120; Case T-212/22, Violetta Prigozhina v. Council, ECLI:EU:T:2023:104, paragraphs 37, 38.

[13] EU Best Practices (footnote 8), paragraphs 62, 63.

[14] Note that the legislation that the EU Best Practices refer to, namely Council Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001 of 27 December 2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism, refers to ‘being in possession of 50% or more of the proprietary rights of a legal person, group or entity, or having a majority interest therein’.

[16] Violetta Prigozhina v. Council (footnote 12), paragraphs 93, 94. See also Case T-66/14, Bredenkamp and Others v. Council and Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2016:430, paragraphs 35–37.

[17] Case C-376/10 P, Pye Phyo Tay Za v. Council of the European Union, ECLI:EU:C:2012:138, paragraphs 63–66; Violetta Prigozhina v. Council (footnote 12), paragraph 95.

[18] See, for instance, the second column titled ‘Identifying information’ in Annex I to Council Regulation (EU) No. 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02014R0269-20230426.

[19] See ‘Commission Consolidated FAQs on the implementation of Council Regulation (EU) No. 833/2014 and Council Regulation (EU) No. 269/2014’, 22 June 2022, https://finance.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2023-07/faqs-sanctions-russia-consolidated_en.pdf (last updated 6 July 2023, accessed 7 July 2023).

[20] ibid.

[21] Commission Opinion of 17 October 2019 on Article 5(1) of Council Regulation (EU) No. 833/2014 (C(2019) 7476 final).

[22] See EU Best Practices (footnote 8), paragraphs 62, 63. See also Article 1(5) of Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001.

[23] Paragraphs 62, 63. See also Article 1(6) of Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001.

[24] ‘Commission Opinion of 19.6.2020 on Article 2 of Council Regulation (EU) No. 269/2014’.

[25] ibid.

[26] See EU Best Practices (footnote 8), paragraph 86.

[27] EU Best Practices (footnote 8), paragraph 76.

[30] See Council Regulation (EU) No. 833/2014 of 31 July 2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, Article 5n(2).

[31] Renato Antonini, Eva Monard and Byron Maniatis, ‘The Russia factor: a transformation of EU sanctions policy’, Export Compliance Manager, Issue 28, November 2022.

[32] Commission Notice to economic operators, importers and exporters, 2022/C 145 I/01.

[33] Commission’s Russia Sanctions FAQs, Section 2, FAQ 2, referring to previous guidance on due diligence for business with Iran.

[34] Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1905 of 6 October 2022 amending Regulation (EU) No. 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, Article 1.

[35] See Renato Antonini, Eva Monard and Byron Maniatis, ‘The Notion of Circumvention Under EU Sanctions’, Export Compliance Manager, Issue 33, May 2023.

[36] See ‘General authorization pursuant to Article 6b paragraph 5 of Council Regulation (EU) No. 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as amended’ (Ref: 841x12c14), https://mfin.gouvernement.lu/dam-assets/dossiers/sanctions-financi%C3%A8res-internationales/documentation/general-authorization-ru-sanctions-269-2014-art6-para-5.pdf (last accessed 7 July).

[38] Guidance Note – Ensuring food security through the implementation of firewalls in cases of EU entities trading in agricultural and food products and controlled by a designated person or entity, https://finance.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2023-05/230503-guidance-firewalls_en.pdf.

[39] EU Best Practices (footnote 8), paragraph 18.

[42] See Annex I to the Council’s Guidelines (footnote 38), paragraphs 19, 20.

[43] See, for example, Case C-45/15 P, Safa Nicu Sepahan Co. v. Council of the European Union, ECLI:EU:C:2017:402.

[44] See Guidelines on implementation and evaluation of restrictive measures (sanctions) in the framework of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (doc. 15579/03), paragraphs 94, 95, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-5664-2018-INIT/en/pdf.

[45] See Council Decisions 2022/885, 2022/884, 2022/883, 2022/882 and 2022/881 of 3 June 2022.

[46] See Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses.

[47] EU Parliamentary debate, ‘The need for a coherent strategy for EU–China Relations’, dated 18 April 2023.

[48] See Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/378 of 20 February 2023.

[49] See Council Decision (CFSP) 2023/887 of 28 April 2023.

[50] See the Commission’s guidance on the Russia sanctions, which currently extends to 365 pages, https://finance.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2023-06/faqs-sanctions-russia-consolidated_en.pdf.

[51] See footnote 29.

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