Sanctions is the policy of the European Union to intervene when necessary to prevent conflict or respond to emerging or actual crises. In certain cases, EU intervention can take the form of restrictive measures or 'sanctions'.

The European Commission transposes into EU law sanctions decisions prepared by the European External Action Service and agreed by the Council of the European Union. Such decisions support specific EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) objectives or UN Security Council Resolutions.


The EU’s overarching objectives include:

Instruments and aims

Sanctions may target governments of third countries, or non-state entities and individuals, such as terrorist groups and terrorists. These measures may include:

  • Arms embargoes;
  • Trade restrictions, such as import and export bans;
  • Financial restrictions;
  • Restricting movement, such as visa or travel bans.

Directorate General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) represents the European Commission in sanctions related discussions with Member States at the Foreign Relations Counsellors Working Group and prepares proposals for Regulations on sanctions for adoption by the Council of the European Union.

Once sanctions are adopted, DG FISMA works to facilitate their implementation in the EU and addresses questions of interpretation raised by economic operators.

In addition, DG FISMA also chairs the Committee for the review of listings under Regulation 881/2002 dealing with Al Qaeda (terrorism).

EU sanctions map

The EU sanctions map provides information on sanctions that are agreed by the EU Member States and adopted by the EU Council. It also covers sanctions regimes imposed by the United Nations Security Council and implemented by the EU Council.

It was created by the Estonian Presidency of the EU Council that took place between July and December 2017.

Guidance on the implementation of EU sanctions


19 June 2020
3 June 2020
11 May 2020




Facts & figures