This alert resumes three changes to EU sanctions adopted over the past week. This week is likely to be equally busy as further sanctions on Ukraine and Russia are expected imminently.
First, and most important, the criteria for imposing an asset freeze under the Ukraine sanctions have been widened, enabling a broader range of persons or entities potentially to be targeted. In addition, 33 names were added to the existing Ukraine-related asset freeze list as of 25 July 2014.
Second, the temporary relaxation of sanctions against Iran has been extended until 24 November 2014 (to reflect the agreement to extend negotiations in Geneva).
Third, 3 persons and 9 entities were added to the Syria asset freeze list as of 23 July 2014.
II. Expansion of Ukraine sanctions
First and foremost, the Council has widened the designation criteria to enable imposition of asset freezes and visa bans on more parties. This time, Regulation 811/2014 – effective as of 25 July 2014 – has extended the criteria to cover persons or entities that actively support or are benefiting from Russian decision makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilization of Eastern Ukraine.
The EU is continuing to discuss possible further sanctions in relation to Ukraine and Russia this coming week, such as targeted measures in relation to access to capital markets, defence, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies, including in the energy sector. Current reports strongly indicate that new EU sanctions in this context, including in the form of additional asset freeze designations (including under the new asset freeze criteria) and sector-specific measures, could be politically agreed by the Council in the early part of the week (though the legal texts giving effect to the measures may take longer to be officially published).
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