10 Jul, 2023

Renew Europe leads clampdown on sanction dodgers

On 6 July, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) adopted the Parliament's position on a 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 Putin's invasion of Ukraine. 

Ahead of the committee vote, Sophie in 't Veld MEP (NL), Renew Europe coordinator in the LIBE Committee and European Parliament rapporteur for a report on the directive, said: 

"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, violations of restrictive measures will be able to be investigated, prosecuted and punished more efficiently and to the same extent in all Member States. 

in 't Veld added: "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". 

Vlad Gheorghe MEP (USR, RO), Renew Europe rapporteur for the opinion on the report in the European Parliament 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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