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European Union External Action

Sanctions policy

Sanctions are one of the EU's tools to promote the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP): peace, democracy and the respect for the rule of law, human rights and international law. They are always part of a wider, comprehensive policy approach involving political dialogue and complementary efforts. EU sanctions are not punitive, but designed to bring about a change in policy or activity by the target country, entities or individuals. At the same time, the EU makes every effort to minimise adverse consequences for the civilian population or for legitimate activities. 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.

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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 of aircrafts or vessels under member states´ jurisdiction.

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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). This note is useful for national authorities and other parties concerned for uniform action. The form of guidance is Q&A.

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