With European prosperity and Asian peace and security closely connected, the European Union has decided to strengthen its security cooperation in and with Asia. This is also in line with the steps taken by the EU in the past years to strengthen its role as a global security provider: Europe and Asia share a fundamental interest in upholding the rules-based international system, as well as the view that the challenges the world faces today go beyond national borders and cannot be tackled alone. The EU-Asia security partnership is therefore both desirable and necessary.
The Council today extended restrictive measures by the EU addressing the use and proliferation of chemical weapons until 16 October 2020. These sanctions, which consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, as well as an asset freeze for entities, currently apply to nine persons - five linked to the Syrian regime and four involved in the Salisbury attack - and one organisation, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), the Syrian regime's principal entity for the development of chemical weapons.
The Council has extended the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months, until 15 March 2020.
The measures target the financial, energy and defence sectors, and the area of dual-use goods. They were originally introduced on 31 July 2014 for one year in response to Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine and strengthened in September 2014.
On 17 May 2019, the Council established a framework which allows the EU to impose targeted restrictive measures to deter and respond to cyber-attacks which constitute an external threat to the EU or its member states, including cyber-attacks against third States or international organisations where restricted measures are considered necessary to achieve the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).
Today the Council decided to prolong the restrictive measures against Belarus for one year, until 28 February 2020. These measures include an embargo on arms and on equipment that could be used for internal repression as well as an asset freeze and travel ban against four people designated in connection with the unresolved disappearances of two opposition politicians, one businessman and one journalist in 1999 and in 2000.