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Overview of sanctions and related tools

An essential tool through which the EU can intervene where necessary to prevent conflict or respond to emerging or current crises.

What are sanctions (restrictives measures)

Sanctions are an essential tool in the EU’s common foreign and security policy (CFSP), through which the EU can intervene where necessary to prevent conflict or respond to emerging or current crises. In spite of their colloquial name ‘sanctions’, EU restrictive measures are not punitive. They are intended to bring about a change in policy or activity by targeting non-EU countries, as well as entities and individuals, responsible for the malign behaviour at stake.

The EU has over forty different sanctions regimes in place. Some are mandated by the United Nations Security Council, whereas others are adopted autonomously by the EU.

Decisions on the adoption, renewal, or lifting of sanctions regimes are taken by the Council of the European Union, on the basis of proposals from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The European Commission, together with the High Representative, give effect to these decisions into EU law through joint proposals for Council regulations, also adopted by the Council. In addition, in its role as guardian of the treaties the Commission has an essential role in overseeing sanctions implementation by Member States.

Sanctions tools

The EU sanctions map provides comprehensive details of all EU sanctions regimes and their corresponding legal acts, including those regimes adopted by the UN Security Council and transposed at EU level.

The consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions, which DG FISMA manages and updates whenever necessary, reflects the officially adopted texts published in the Official Journal of the EU. You can also download a PDF version of the consolidated list of financial sanctions.

Sharing of information about EU sanctions violations can contribute to the success of ongoing investigations in EU Member States and increase the effectiveness of EU sanctions.

The Due diligence helpdesk, also designed for EU SMEs interested in trade with Iran, provides tailor-made support by carrying out due diligence checks on EU sanctions compliance for specific business projects.

The EU sanctions tool aims to help EU companies in determining whether EU sanctions apply to their exports, imports and business with Iran. By providing an easy-to-use compliance assessment, the tool is designed as a first point of reference for EU companies at an early stage of their business engagement in Iran.

Guidance on the implementation of EU sanctions

  1. 26 February 2022
    Frequently asked questions - Sanctions
  2. 16 November 2020
    Guidance note - Humanitarian aid to fight the COVID-19
  3. 9 Octobre 2020
    Guidance note - Humanitarian aid to fight the COVID-19
  4. 11 May 2020
    Guidance note - Humanitarian aid to fight the COVID-19 (Syria)
  5. 1 September 2017
    Frequently asked questions - Syria

Sanctions against Russia

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Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine

Check the sanctions adopted by the EU against Russia and Belarus.

More about sanctions

EU blocking statute

The European Union’s blocking statute (Council Regulation (EC) No 2271/96 ) protects EU operators from the extra-territorial application of third country laws.