On 12 May 2014, the EU Council broadened the scope of EU sanctions in response to the situation in Ukraine. The legal basis for EU sanctions was broadened notably to cover obstruction of the work of international organisations and involvement in the transfer of ownership of entities in Crimea or Sevastopol. In addition, 13 persons and – for the first time – two Crimea-linked companies were added to the list of sanctioned parties. These changes entered into force on 12 May 2014. The EU Council has reiterated that work on possible targeted EU measures continues, to enable further steps depending on future events.
Based on Council conclusions issued on Monday, 12 May 2014, the EU has amended its sanctions in relation to the situation in Ukraine.
First, the EU has decided to broaden the legal basis for restrictive measures in response to actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (originally featured in Regulation 269/2014). These changes are made in Regulation 476/2014, which was published and entered into force on 12 May 2014.
This means that the EU has expanded the scope of criteria for imposing an asset freeze (and, in the case of persons, a visa ban) on certain parties in relation to the Ukraine crisis. Previously, an asset freeze could be imposed on parties "responsible for" actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine. Now, the EU may more broadly designate parties (and their associates) for "actively supporting or implementing" such related actions and policies, and also for other activities – relating to obstruction of the work of international organizations and the transfer of ownership of entities in Crimea or Sevastopol.
In other words, this amended legal basis enables the EU to impose sanctions on more parties deemed responsible for unrest in Ukraine.
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