European Union sanctions | EEAS (2023)

Restrictive measures, or sanctions, are one of the EU's tools to promote the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). These include safe-guarding the EU's values, its fundamental interests and security; consolidating and supporting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law; preserving peace; preventing conflicts and strengthening international security.

On This Page

  • Why are sanctions imposed?
  • What types of sanctions can the EU adopt?
  • Which EU sanctions regimes?
  • How does the EU impose sanctions?
  • Where do EU sanctions apply?
  • Which other countries implement EU sanctions?
  • Who is responsible for implementing EU sanctions?
  • Which sanctions are in place?
  • Example: EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime
  • Contact

Why are sanctions imposed?

EU sanctions do not target a country or population, but are always targeted at specific policies or activities, the means to conduct them and those responsible for them. Moreover, the EU makes every effort to minimise adverse consequences for the civilian population or for non-sanctioned activities or persons. They always form part of a wider, comprehensive policy approach involving political dialogue and complementary efforts. They are not punitive.

EU sanctions are reviewed at regular intervals. The Council of the EU decides whether sanctions should be renewed, amended or lifted. All legal acts related to EU sanctions are published in the Official Journal of the EU.

What types of sanctions can the EU adopt?

Restrictive measures imposed by the EU may target governments of third countries, or non-state entities (e.g. companies) and individuals (such as terrorist groups and terrorists). For a majority of sanctions regimes, measures are targeted at individuals and entities and consist of asset freezes and travel bans. The EU can also adopt sectoral measures, such as economic and financial measures (e.g. import and export restrictions, restrictions on banking services) or arms embargoes (prohibition on exporting goods set out in the EU`s common military list).

There are three types of sanctions regimes in place in the EU. First, there are sanctions imposed by the UN which the EU transposes into EU law. Secondly, the EU may reinforce UN sanctions by applying stricter and additional measures (e.g. vis-à-vis DPRK). Finally, the EU may also decide to impose fully autonomous sanctions regimes (e.g. vis-à-vis Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, Russia).

All sanctions adopted by the EU are fully compliant with obligations under international law including those regarding the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

European Union sanctions | EEAS (1)

Which EU sanctions regimes?

There are over 30 EU autonomous and UN transposed sanctions regimes in place globally. For example, sanctions have been imposed in light of the situation in e.g.: Syria (see details), Iran (see details), Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela (see details), Libya, Russia and Ukraine (see details) as well as North Korea (see details).

In addition, the EU has also adopted horizontal regimes targeting: terrorism, cyber-attacks, proliferation and the use of chemical weapons.

For a full overview see the EU sanctions map

How does the EU impose sanctions?

The development of sanctions regimes is a complex process involving different actors. All decisions to adopt, amend, lift or renew sanctions are taken by the Council following examination in the relevant Council working groups. EU Member States are responsible for the implementation of all sanctions within their respective jurisdictions.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy contributes through his/her proposals to the development of CFSP. Together with the Council, the HR ensures the unity, consistency and effectiveness of action by the EU in the area of the CFSP.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) assists the HR/VP in fulfilling his/her mandate and has a key role in the preparation, maintenance and review of sanctions, as well as in the communication and outreach activities concerning them in close cooperation with Member States, relevant EU delegations and the European Commission.

In the legislative process in the Council regarding sanctions, the EEAS has a particular role to play. This includes preparing, on behalf of the High Representative proposals for a decision, and jointly with the European Commission proposals for regulations which are subsequently reviewed and adopted by the Council. Decisions are binding on the Member States themselves. Regulations are directly applicable within the European Union and are binding on individuals and entities, including economic operators.

For its part the European Commission presents proposals, jointly with the High Representative for regulations. Once regulations are adopted the Commission works to facilitate their implementation in the EU and addresses questions of interpretation by economic operators.

The European Commission is responsible for ensuring the uniform application of sanctions.

(Video) 'Europe Paying For Russia Sanctions': Moscow officials blast EU on their turf | Watch What Happened

Where do EU sanctions apply?

EU sanctions apply within the jurisdiction (territory) of the EU; to EU nationals in any location; to companies and organisations incorporated under the law of a Member State – including branches of EU companies in third countries; on board aircraft or vessels under Member States´ jurisdiction.

The EU refrains from adopting sanctions having extra-territorial application in breach of international law.

Which other countries implement EU sanctions?

EU candidate countries, European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area countries (e.g. Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine) are systematically invited to align themselves with EU restrictive measures. Countries that have aligned with a Council Decision ensure that their national policies conform to the Council Decision in question.

Who is responsible for implementing EU sanctions?

Implementation and enforcement of EU sanctions is primarily the responsibility of the EU Member States. The competent authorities in the Member States have to assess whether there has been a breach of the legislation and to take adequate steps.

The European Commission has prepared guidance on how to implement the provisions concerning sectoral cooperation and exchanges with Russia (the “economic” sanctions), as well as guidance regarding Crimea and Sevastopol, Iran, North Korea and Syria.

(Video) EU sanctions on Russia explained

Which sanctions are in place?

Consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions

The consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions can be downloaded fromFinancial Sanctions Database - FSF platform accessible via the following address:

In order to access the FSF platformyou need to have an "EU Login" account.Please follow the instructions provided on the EU Login page displayed when you click on the above link.

The correct application of financial sanctions is crucial in order to meet the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and especially to help prevent the financing of terrorism. The application of financial sanctions constitutes an obligation for both the public and private sector. In this regard, the EU assigns particular responsibility to credit and financial institutions, since they are involved in the bulk of financial transfers and transactions affected by the relevant Regulations.

In order to facilitate the application of financial sanctions, the European Banking Federation, the European Savings Banks Group, the European Association of Co-operative Banks and the European Association of Public Banks ("the EU Credit Sector Federations") and the Commission recognised the need for an EU consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to CFSP related financial sanctions. It was therefore agreed that the Credit Sector Federations would set up a database containing the consolidated list for the Commission, which would host and maintain the database and keep it up-to-date. This database was developed first and foremost to assist the members of the EU Credit Sector Federations in their compliance with financial sanctions.

Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure that the database and the consolidated list correctly reproduce all relevant data of the officially adopted texts published in the Official Journal of the European Union, neither the Commission nor the EU credit sector federations accepts any liability for possible omissions of relevant data or mistakes, and for any use made of the database or of the consolidated list. Only the information published in the Official Journal of the EU is deemed authentic.

Example: EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime

Human rights are under attack around the world. The new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime will be a powerful tool to hold accountable those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses around the world. This is an opportunity for Europe not only to stand up for its values but to act

“We need a global regime to gain more flexibility to go after human rights violators and abusers regardless of where they are. With the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, we will be able to proceed quicker and to be more efficient.”

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President for a Stronger Europe in the World

On 07/12/2020, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, which seeks to address serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. To do so, it can impose a travel ban and an asset freeze on individuals and entities responsible for or involved in violations and abuses such as crimes against humanity, torture, sexual and gender-based violence or the suppression of the freedom of religion or belief. For details, please see the links below.

Legal acts

The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is set out in two legal acts:

  • Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1999 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses
  • Council Regulation (EU) No 1998/2020 concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses


The below EEAS Q&A and Commission guidance further explain the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime’s legal acts and assists EU citizens and economic operators in complying with the restrictive measures:

  • Remote video URL

(Video) China Warns of 'Strong' Reaction If EU Sanctions Its Companies


For inquiries and suggestions you can contact the EEAS Sanctions Division (

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What is the 7th package of sanctions? ›

In summary, the new sanctions package (the “seventh sanctions package”) includes: A new prohibition to purchase, import, or transfer, directly or indirectly, gold, if it originates in Russia and it has been exported from Russia into the EU or to any third country.

Does the EU have sanctions on the US? ›

The European Union retaliated to the sanctions with a tariff on 180 U.S goods for over $3 billion on 22 June 2018. Mexico retaliated to the sanctions with a tariff on U.S goods such as steel, pork, cheese, apples and other goods for over $3 billion on 5 June 2018.

What is the penalty for violating EU sanctions? ›

Common basic standards for penalties: depending on the offence, the individual person could be liable to a maximum penalty of at least five years in prison; companies could be liable to penalties of no less than 5% of the total worldwide turnover of the legal person (company) in the business year preceding the fining ...

What is the 11th sanctions package? ›

The 11th sanctions package focuses on anti-circumvention of the existing sanctions and includes a new mechanism to potentially punish countries outside of the EU that enable sanction evasion.

What is the 8th package Russian sanctions? ›

Today, the Council of the European Union adopted an eighth package of sanctions against Russia and those responsible for the Russian aggression in Ukraine and these illegal annexations: these latest sanctions will target the organizers of illegal referendums, military leaders and propagandists.

What is the 8th round of sanctions on Russia? ›

This package introduces new EU import bans worth €7 billion to curb Russia's revenues, as well as export restrictions, which will further deprive the Kremlin's military and industrial complex of key components and technologies and Russia's economy of European services and expertise.

What countries is the US sanctioning? ›

Sanctions Programs and Country Information
Active Sanctions ProgramsProgram Last Updated
Iran SanctionsJun 06, 2023
Iraq-Related SanctionsDec 28, 2022
Lebanon-Related SanctionsApr 04, 2023
Libya SanctionsOct 17, 2022
34 more rows

How many countries is the US sanctioning? ›

The United States has imposed two-thirds of the world's sanctions since the 1990s. Numerous US unilateral sanctions against various countries around the world have been criticized by different commentators. It has imposed economic sanctions on more than 20 countries since 1998.

Who enforces EU sanctions? ›

At present there are three main authorities imposing sanctions: the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Can you be banned from entering EU? ›

When do you get an entry ban? You can only get an entry ban if you have received a return decision. And if you do not have the nationality of an EU or EEA country or Switzerland. From now on, we call all these countries EU.

Do sanctions hurt a country? ›

Criticism. Sanctions have been criticized on humanitarian grounds, as they negatively impact a nation's economy and can also cause collateral damage on ordinary citizens. Peksen implies that sanctions can degenerate human rights in the target country.

Can the UN enforce sanctions? ›

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) can impose sanctions in response to a threat to international peace and security.

Where does the money from sanctions go? ›

By state law, all monetary penalties imposed as a sanction shall be deposited into the state treasury to the credit of the State Literary Fund. The Department of Criminal Justice Services does not benefit from monetary penalties.

What are the 8 types of sanctions? ›

  • Reasons for sanctioning.
  • Economic sanctions.
  • Diplomatic sanctions.
  • Military sanctions.
  • Sport sanctions.
  • Sanctions on the environment.
  • Sanctions on individuals.

What are the three sanctions categories? ›

Sanctions measures can include: • Restrictions on trade in goods and services • Restrictions on engaging in commercial activities • Targeted financial sanctions (including asset freezes) on designated persons and entities • Travel bans on certain persons.

How much Russia lost due to sanctions? ›

By mid-2016, Russia had lost an estimated $170 billion due to financial sanctions, with another $400 billion lost in revenues from oil and gas. According to Ukrainian officials, the sanctions forced Russia to change its approach toward Ukraine and undermined the Russian military advances in the region.

What is the EU 10th sanctions package? ›

With today's package, the EU has sanctioned in total nearly close to half (49%) of its 2021 exports to Russia. Today's package imposes import bans on the following Russian high-revenue goods: Bitumen and related materials like asphalt; and. Synthetic rubber and carbon blacks.

What sanctions were just put on Russia? ›

Russian shoppers and businesses hit
  • A ban on the export of dual-use goods - items with both a civilian and military purpose, such as vehicle parts - by the UK, EU and US.
  • A ban on all Russian flights from US, UK, EU and Canadian airspace.
  • A ban on the export of luxury goods to Russia.
May 25, 2023

How many sanctions did the US put on Russia? ›

With Over 300 Sanctions, U.S. Targets Russia's Circumvention and Evasion, Military-Industrial Supply Chains, and Future Energy Revenues.

Which countries refused to sanction Russia? ›

On 25 February and 1 March 2022, Serbia, Mexico and Brazil announced that they would not be participating in any economic sanctions against Russia.

What is the EU price cap? ›

What is the EU price cap? The European Commission (2022a) calls it a “Market Correction Mechanism to protect EU businesses and households from episodes of excessively high gas prices in the EU” with a “safety ceiling on gas prices”.

Is the US sanctioning China? ›

Sanctions under the Biden administration

In January 2023, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Spacety China, also known as Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co. Ltd., for providing satellite imagery to the Wagner Group.

What countries are banned from U.S. exports? ›

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) implements U.S. Government certain sanctions against Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria pursuant to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), either unilaterally or to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Is North Korea a sanctioned country? ›

The European Union has imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea since 2006. These include: embargoing arms and related materials. banning the export of aviation and rocket fuel to North Korea.

How many active sanctions does the US have? ›

Current economic sanctions

The United States currently has 32 active programs that sanction individuals, organizations, or countries for things like their support of terrorism, narcotics trafficking, weapons proliferation, or human rights abuses.

Is there a dollar threshold for sanctions? ›

Is there a dollar limit on which transactions are subject to OFAC regulations? There is no minimum or maximum amount subject to the regulations.

How do you get a sanction lifted? ›

If you've been sanctioned, you can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to rethink their decision to sanction you if you think they shouldn't have sanctioned you. This is called 'mandatory reconsideration'. If the DWP refuses to change their decision, you can then make an appeal.

Who can veto EU laws? ›

Depending on the kind of act adopted by the Commission, MEPs have different options if they disagree with the measures proposed by the Commission. MEPs have a veto right for delegated acts.

Who is in control of the EU? ›

The European Commission is made up of 27 Commissioners – one per EU country. Together with the President of the European Commission, the Commissioners are the EU's executive branch, responsible for the daily running of the EU.

Who enforces Russia sanctions? ›

The Justice Department's enforcement of these new measures has been led by Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls, and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, has imposed in ...

How long can an American stay in Europe? ›

With a valid U.S. passport, you can stay up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180-day period. Do not overstay! You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area. To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa.

Can a nation be kicked out of the EU? ›

Expulsion. While a state can be suspended, there is no provision to expel a member state outright. The idea appeared in the drafting of the European Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty but failed to be included. There are a number of considerations which make such a provision impractical.

Is there a black list in the Schengen zone? ›

There are no «black lists» in the Schengen Information System (SIS) which is systematically used by Schengen member states to consult each other.

Do sanctions actually work? ›

She says a review of all U.S. sanctions since 1970 shows that targeted countries altered their behavior in a way that the U.S. hoped they would just 13 percent of the time. "The reality is that sanctions are sometimes effective, but most often not, and it is hard to accurately predict when they will work," she says.

Does Russia suffer from sanctions? ›

The sanctions imposed by the EU and its partners on Russia's financial system reduce Russia's ability to finance the war. €300 billion of Russian Central Bank reserves are blocked in the EU, other G7 countries and Australia (two thirds of which are blocked in the EU).

Does sanction work on Russia? ›

Are they working? That depends on their objective. Sanctions have inflicted some pain on Russia's economy, but they have not caused widespread economic collapse or halted Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

What happens if a country violates UN law? ›

Countries that go against the UN can face sanctions, trade embargos or military action. However, the UN cannot enact these itself and requires member states to take action when countries break resolutions. As a result, often nothing happens when country disobeys the UN as member states are unwilling to act.

Who enforces economic sanctions in us? ›

The Office of Foreign Assets Control administers and enforces economic sanctions programs primarily against countries and groups of individuals, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers.

Who monitors UN sanctions? ›

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) establishes Sanctions Committees to monitor the implementation and effects of embargoes or sanctions it has decided to impose against States as well as non-State entities or individual.

Who controls sanctions? ›

The Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities ...

What is the goal of a sanction? ›

Sanctions are based in the traditional purposes of punishment: just deserts (or retribution), deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation.

What is the most severe sanction? ›

The most severe sanction in a civil lawsuit is the involuntary dismissal, with prejudice, of a complaining party's cause of action, or of the responding party's answer.

How many Russian sanctions are there? ›

The United States and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions, export controls, and other measures following the start of Russia's war against Ukraine. Since February 2022, Treasury has implemented more than 2,500 sanctions in response to Russia's war of choice.

What is the most common sanction? ›

Monetary sanctions are the most common form of punishment imposed by criminal justice systems across the United States.

What are most negative sanctions? ›

Negative sanctions can include embarrassment, shame, ridicule, sarcasm, criticism, disapproval, social discrimination, and exclusion as well as more formal sanctions such as penalties and fines.

What is the US sanctions list called? ›

Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN) Human Readable Lists.

What is an example of a positive sanction? ›

Graduation certificates, pay raises, promotions, awards, and medals are examples of positive formal sanctions.

What are the levels of sanctions? ›

There are three sanction levels: lower. medium. higher.

What are all the types of sanctions? ›

  • Reasons for sanctioning.
  • Economic sanctions.
  • Diplomatic sanctions.
  • Military sanctions.
  • Sport sanctions.
  • Sanctions on the environment.
  • Sanctions on individuals.

What do sanctions include? ›

Prominent forms of economic sanctions include trade barriers, asset freezes, travel bans, arms embargoes, and restrictions on financial transactions. The efficacy of sanctions in achieving intended goals is the subject of debate. The humanitarian impact of country-wide sanctions have been a subject of controversy.

What happens when you get sanctions? ›

Sanctions, in law and legal definition, are penalties or other means of enforcement used to provide incentives for obedience with the law, or with rules and regulations. Criminal sanctions can take the form of serious punishment, such as corporal or capital punishment, incarceration, or severe fines.

How many countries does the US sanction? ›

The United States has imposed two-thirds of the world's sanctions since the 1990s. Numerous US unilateral sanctions against various countries around the world have been criticized by different commentators. It has imposed economic sanctions on more than 20 countries since 1998.

What are the 7 sanctioned countries? ›

  • Russia-related Sanctions.
  • Iran Sanctions.
  • North Korea Sanctions.
  • Cuba Sanctions.
  • Counter Narcotics Sanctions.
  • Cyber-related Sanctions.
  • Venezuela-related Sanctions.
  • Complete List of Sanctions Programs and Country Information.

Who imposes sanctions in the US? ›

Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of the Treasury – OFAC plays a primary role in administering and enforcing many U.S. sanctions programs. In coordination with the Department of State, OFAC issues licenses where appropriate for a variety of goods, services and transactions.

What is sanctions in simple words? ›

sanc·​tion ˈsaŋk-shən. 1. : a punitive or coercive measure or action that results from failure to comply with a law, rule, or order. a sanction for contempt. : explicit or official approval.

Can the US sanction China? ›

The United States government applies sanctions against certain institutions and key members of the Chinese government and its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), certain companies linked to the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and other affiliates that the US government has accused of aiding in human rights abuses.

Is a sanction a crime? ›

Definition. Criminal sanctions are the penalties imposed on those who commit crimes. Whether a sanction is criminal or civil flows not from the nature of the penalty, but from the wrongdoing it punishes (or from the law that imposes the liability).


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