Renew Europe leads clampdown on sanctions-dodgers

Author: Caroline Rhawi



Hidingplace 2022 12 02 105531 ddtf

Today, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), is set to adopt the Parliament's position on the new directive to harmonise criminal offences and penalties for malicious sanction evasion across the EU, as a step to end the impunity for those violating sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Sophie in 't Veld (Netherlands), the Renew Europe group’s coordinator in the LIBE Committee and the European Parliament's rapporteur for the report on 'Directive on the Definition of Criminal Offences and Penalties for the Violation of Union restrictive measures', said ahead of the committee vote:

"The European Union has been very determined in imposing sanctions on Russia since it invaded Ukraine. However, sanctions only have an impact when they are enforced strictly and evenly across the EU. Today we still see rich Russians shopping, vacationing, doing business and sending their children to expensive schools in Europe. Countless companies are still doing business in Russia and making bumper profits. This has to stop, justice has to prevail."

With a new harmonised European approach and common standards of criminal offences and penalties throughout the EU, the violations of restrictive measures can be investigated, prosecuted and punished more efficiently and to the same extent in all Member States.

"Parliament has worked fast and we are ready to adopt our negotiating position. In the trilogues we will aim for a high level of harmonisation, to prevent “forum shopping” by sanctioned persons or entities, and we want to drastically improve enforcement. I count on a swift agreement between Parliament and Council, and then the sunny times are over for those who are violating or circumventing sanctions", Sophie in ‘t Veld continued.

Vlad Gheorghe (USR, Romania), the Renew Europe group’s rapporteur for the opinion on the report in the Committee on Budgets, added:

"It is not enough that the EU adopts sanctions, but they need to be applied to the same extent in all Member States. Every sanction violation would be a gift to Putin. And we cannot allow that this foreign policy instrument underperforms. Sanction violation not only diminishes the sanction effects, but it also infects the EU internal market with criminal assets, which should be confiscated and used for Ukraine's reconstruction.


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