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:
- Promoting international peace and security;
- Preventing conflicts;
- Defending democratic principles and human rights;
- Preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs); and
- Fighting terrorism.
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
- 11 May 2020
- Q&A due diligence on restrictive measures for EU businesses dealing with Iran
- Commission opinion on the compatibility of national asset freezes imposed by Member States with Union law - 8 November 2019
- Commission opinion on Article 5(1) of Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 - 7 October 2019
- Commission opinion on the application of derogations from the freezing of funds and from the prohibition of making funds and economic resources available to designated persons and entities - 29 August 2019
- Commission opinion on a request for interpretation concerning the provision of higher education and the undertaking of applied research in the framework of a prohibition to provide technology or technical assistance to a third country - 5 August 2019
- Commission opinion on a request for interpretation concerning the freeze of funds of a non-designated person transferred into a Member State from a designated bank and the derogation for “extraordinary expenses” under Article 28 of Council Regulation (EU) 267/2012 - 4 July 2019
- Commission opinion on the export ban established by Council Regulation (EU) No 692/2014 - 4 July 2019
- Commission opinion on Article 5(4) of Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44 - 7 June 2019
- Guidance note on the import and export ban of luxury goods under Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 (restrictive measures towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) - 31 January 2019
- Information note to EU business on operating and/or investing in Crimea/Sevastopol - 25 January 2018
- Commission guidance note on the implementation of certain provisions of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 - 25 August 2017
- Commission frequently asked questions on EU restrictive measures in Syria - 1 September 2017
Facts & figures
- Consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions
- Consolidated financial sanctions in PDF version