Economic Sanctions - Interaction between the EU, the UN and the Member States

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Abstract: Economic sanctions - the exercise of pressure by one international actor to produce a change in the political behaviour of another international actor - are instruments used in the exercise of foreign policy. Due to the perceived ineffectiveness of traditional economic sanctions, such as trade embargoes, a new type of sanctions has emerged. Unlike economic sanctions in the traditional sense, these so-called targeted sanctions are directed against individuals or groups of individuals. The UN Security Council is often the initiator when economic sanctions are imposed. It adopts resolutions under Article 39 and Article 41 of the UN Charter, which must be implemented in order to become effective. The EU is not a member of the UN, but is nevertheless firmly involved in the implementation process. The EU implements the UN sanctions by unanimous decisions under the CFSP, followed by the adoption of Council regulations under Articles 301 and /or 60 EC. The regulations are directly applicable in all Member States of the EU. Being members of both the UN and the EU, the Member States have dual legal obligations. They are obliged to carry out decisions taken by the Security Council under Article 25 of the UN Charter. On the other hand, according to the jurisprudence of the Court, Community law takes precedence over national law. ECJ has stated in the Centro-Com case that if a conflict would occur between the Member States dual obligations, their responsibilities under the UN Charter prevail. Due to practical reasons, the implementation of Security Council resolutions regarding economic sanctions have gradually been transferred from the national level to the EU level. This allows a swift and uniform implementation throughout the Union. The question of interest is whether the role of the EU in this established interaction process can be upheld also in the field of targeted sanctions? The crux of the matter is the scope of Article 301 EC. According to a literal interpretation of Article 301 EC, sanctions can only be imposed against states, not individuals. However, one could argue that it also includes quasi-governmental entities, which control territory, or people closely linked to the decision-makers target governments. In my view, Article 301 should not be stretched too far. Case T-306/01 concerns exactly this question - the scope of Article 301 - and is now pending in the CFI. It is therefore impossible to draw any certain conclusions, but it is obvious that Article 301 EC was not designed for meeting the currently most important threat to international peace and security: non-nation bound terrorism.

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