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Sanctions: Egypt

(S,P) The lifting of punitive measures allows EU businesses to trade with Egypt without fear of falling foul of sanctions regulations.

Restrictive measures or 'sanctions' are an essential tool of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). They are used by the EU as part of an integrated and comprehensive policy approach, involving political dialogue, complementary efforts and the use of other instruments at its disposal.

  • Key objectives when adopting sanctions

  • safeguarding EU's values, fundamental interests, and security

  • preserving peace

  • consolidating and supporting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law

  • preventing conflicts and strengthening international security

Sanctions seek to bring about a change in the policy or conduct of those targeted, with a view to promoting the objectives of the CFSP.

Target of Sanctions

They can target:

  • governments of non-EU countries because of their policies

  • entities (companies) providing the means to conduct the targeted policies

  • groups or organisations such as terrorist groups

  • individuals supporting the targeted policies, involved in terrorist activities etc.

  • They are developed in such a way as to minimise adverse consequences for those not responsible for the policies or actions leading to the adoption of sanctions. In particular, the EU works to minimise the effects on the local civilian population and on legitimate activities in or with the country concerned.

All restrictive measures adopted by the EU are fully compliant with obligations under international law, including those pertaining to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Sanctions framework lifted

The Council on 12 March 2021 decided to revoke the EU framework for sanctions against persons identified as responsible for the misappropriation of Egyptian state funds, and, to that effect, to lift the restrictive measures currently in force against nine Egyptian individuals.

Misappropriated state assets

Restrictive measures were initially adopted in 2011 and aimed notably at assisting the Egyptian authorities with the recovery of misappropriated state assets.

On 21 February 2011, the Council of the EU declared its readiness to support the peaceful and orderly transition to a civilian and democratic government in Egypt based on the rule of law, with full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and to support efforts to create an economy which enhances social cohesion and promotes growth. Restrictive measures were imposed against persons identified as responsible for misappropriation of Egyptian State funds and who are thus depriving the Egyptian people of the benefits of the sustainable development of their economy and society and undermining the development of democracy in the country. The aim of the measures was to recover the assets misappropriated from Egypt.

Asset Freeze

The measures consisted of an asset freeze imposed on the assets of the listed individuals located in the EU. In addition, nationals from EU member states and legal entities incorporated in the EU were forbidden from making funds available to those listed, either directly or indirectly. Since 2011, sanctions have been reviewed on an annual basis, with some individuals having been delisted over time.

Following the most recent review of the nine listings still in force, the Council concluded that the regime had served its purpose.

EU-Egypt Partnership

EU restrictive measures are not punitive. They intend to bring about a positive change in the third countries concerned. The EU’s sanctions regime related to the misappropriation of Egyptian state funds served to promote the objectives of the EU-Egypt partnership in the context of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

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