The Council of the European Union has decided to include the circumvention of sanctions imposed by the bloc in the list of crimes.
The decision was adopted unanimously, the website of the European Council informs.
“The EU has responded with determination to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine. It has adopted an unprecedented number of sanctions to target Russia’s economy and thwart its ability to continue with this aggression. To succeed, their implementation requires a joint effort, and today’s decision is an essential tool to ensure any attempts to circumvent these measures will be stopped,” Pavel Blazek, Czech Justice Minister, who currently holds the EU Council Presidency, said.
The Council noted, that different member states have different definitions of what constitutes a violation of restrictive measures and what penalties should be applied in the event of violation. This could lead to different degrees of enforcement of sanctions and a risk of these measures being circumvented, potentially allowing sanctioned persons to continue accessing their assets.
The inclusion of the violation of restrictive measures in the list of ‘EU crimes’ is the first of two steps to ensure a similar degree of sanctions enforcement throughout the EU and to dissuade attempts to circumvent or violate EU measures.
Next, the European Commission will present a proposal for a directive containing minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and penalties for violating EU restrictive measures. This draft directive will then need to be discussed and adopted by the Council and the European Parliament.