EU Council adds violation of restrictive measures to list of 'EU crimes'

28 November 2022, 06:43 PM
The European Union is strengthening the control of sanctions against Russia (Photo:REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo)

The European Union is strengthening the control of sanctions against Russia (Photo:REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo)

The European Council has unanimously adopted a decision to add the violation of restrictive measures, such as sanctions, to the list of “EU crimes” included in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Council said in a press release on Nov. 28.

“Currently member states have different definitions of what constitutes a violation of restrictive measures and what penalties should be applied in the event of violation,” the press release says.

“This could lead to different degrees of enforcement of sanctions and a risk of these measures being circumvented, potentially allowing sanctioned persons to continue accessing their assets and supporting regimes targeted by EU measures.”

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The EU Council stressed that the inclusion of the violation of restrictive measures in the list of “EU crimes” is the first of two steps to ensure a similar degree of sanctions enforcement throughout the EU, and to dissuade attempts to circumvent or violate EU measures.

In addition, following the adoption of this decision, the European Commission will present a proposal for a directive containing minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offenses and penalties for the violation of EU restrictive measures. This draft directive will then need to be discussed and adopted by the Council and the European Parliament.

After the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, dozens of countries, including the EU and the United States, began to impose large-scale sanctions against Russia. The EU has already announced eight packages of sanctions and is developing a ninth.

The Wall Street Journal newspaper reported in late April that Russia had ramped up oil shipments to key customers, defying its pariah status in world energy markets.

One increasingly popular method for delivery: tankers marked “destination unknown.” An opaque market is forming to obscure the origin of that oil, the newspaper said.

On May 25, the European Commission presented a proposal for a decision to extend the list of these areas of crime to include the violation of restrictive measures adopted by the EU.

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