Defining elements and emerging legal issues of EU “sanctions”

Borlini, Leonardo; Silingardi, Stefano

With some 40 different types of restrictive measures in force, the European Union is undisputedly one of the major protagonists of today’s sanction regimes. Measures such as selective trade embargos, asset freezes and travel bans have been adopted by the EU not only to
implement Security Council mandated sanctions, but also in addition to (as with Iran and North Korea) or in the absence of UN action (as with Syria and Russia). Further, EU recent practice evidences that sanctions (Myanmar and Zimbabwe) have served the EU and its member states’ own interests also with the view to promoting (the European construction of) values generally shared in international society. After outlining the legal discipline and the policy framework of EU restrictive measures, the present article analyses the legal issues emerging with respect to EU sanctions over the last four years. Among these, the 2017 ruling of the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the EU in Rosneft, Brexit and its consequences on the implementation/adoption of sanctions by the United Kingdom, and recent developments
concerning the legal position of candidate countries which refused to align with the EU sanction adopted in reaction to the Ukraine crisis, are the most important.