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Statement24 October 2022Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union3 min read

Statement by Commissioner McGuinness on the outcomes of the first meeting of the high-level meeting on sanctions implementation

Today, Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union Mairead McGuinness chaired a dedicated high-level meeting with the relevant competent authorities from Member States on sanctions implementation.

Sanctions are an essential part of the EU’s response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU – working closely with international partners – has delivered eight increasingly restrictive packages of targeted sanctions aimed at reducing Russia’s ability to wage war. Effective implementation of sanctions is a top priority and one of several ways in which the EU is supporting Ukraine.

Despite the speed and depth of our sanctions, Member States are working hard on effective implementation.

After the meeting, the Commissioner stated:

“EU sanctions against Russia are working. Nearly 17.4 billion EUR of assets belonging to listed persons and entities has been frozen as of 21 October 2022 in the EU. Sanctions are effective in undermining the ability of Russia to sustain their economy while funding their war against Ukraine - Russia’s public finances went into the red this quarter, despite very high oil and gas prices. Export and import bans mean that the Russian army cannot access chips to fix their military hardware because they have run out of semiconductors. Many Russian industries are reportedly struggling to repair equipment and keep up production due to the lack of technology and spare parts.

The full force of our sanctions can only be realised through proper implementation. We need to act to prevent any loopholes or circumvention, and the best way to do that is by working together at an EU level to coordinate our work. The latest sanctions package adopted by the Council already foresees the possibility to list individuals who help EU actors circumvent sanctions. In the Commission, we stand ready to help Member States with monitoring and implementation.

National competent authorities in the Member States are responsible for ensuring that sanctions are fully implemented and for investigating possible circumvention within their jurisdictions. And the Commission is there to help Member States and operators. That is why, in recent months, the Commission has provided extensive guidance via hundreds of FAQs to support Member States and operators to implement sanctions properly and fully.

In today’s discussion, Member States were able to share best practices, in particular on how to organise monitoring and implementation of sanctions at the national level as effectively as possible. The Commission and Member States also discussed how to best share relevant information to ensure that the Commission can offer proactive support. As a practical next step, we agreed to set up mechanisms to exchange information more swiftly between Member States and the Commission.

I was encouraged by today’s in-depth discussion with Member States, especially by the many success stories shared during the meeting. Participants had the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences. We are all united in our common goal of effective and uniform implementation.

Following today’s meeting, the Commission will take a number of actions: We will organise a structured and comprehensive exchange of best practices among Member States on setting up efficient and effective internal structures – in particular improved internal coordination; We will establish a new mechanism allowing Member States to contact each other and exchange information in real time on derogations and authorisations with a cross-border dimension, and entities owned and controlled by listed persons; A workstream on circumvention with an Experts’ Conference will be set up and finally, we will follow-up bilaterally with all 27 national competent authorities (NCA).

Sanctions are here to stay for the foreseeable future. To make sure we meet our goals on sanctions in full, we absolutely need stringent implementation and enforcement across the EU.”