EU: Sanctions

Updated: Jan 31

Last updated: 31 January 2020


Sanctions or, what the EU calls "Restrictive measures" are important element 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 of EU 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.

What can EU sanctions target?


EU Sanctions 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.

EU Measures and International Law

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


EU Sanctions Map

The EU sanctions map provides a visual overview of sanctions adopted by the EU Council.


Further Reading

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