Proposal for a Directive on the definition of criminal offences and penalties for the violation of Union restrictive measures

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2022) 684
Publication Date 02/12/2022
Content Type


Legislative initiative tabled by the European Commission on 2 December 2022, seeking to harmonise criminal offences and penalties for the violation of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union (EU).

Further information:

Restrictive measures are used to promote the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), as set out in the Treaty on the European Union (TEU). These objectives include safeguarding EU values, maintaining international peace and security, and consolidating and supporting democracy, the rule of law and human rights. In this context, the European Union (EU) may impose sanctions against non-EU countries, entities, legal or natural persons.

As the adoption of EU restrictive measures intensified over the years, so too have the schemes to circumvent them. The European Commission highlighted in the past that their inconsistent enforcement undermines their efficacy and the EU's ability to speak with one voice. In the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Commission set up a Freeze and Seize Task Force ensuring coordination among Member States and EU agencies when it comes to enforcement of sanctions. However, the implementation and enforcement of EU restrictive measures has primarily been the responsibility of EU countries.

This draft law seeks to approximate definitions of criminal offences related to the violation of EU restrictive measures; ensure effective, dissuasive and proportionate penalty types and levels for these criminal offences; foster cross-border investigation and prosecution; improve the operational effectiveness of national enforcement chains. It was adopted by the European Commission on 2 December 2022, following up on the adoption of Council Decision (EU) 2022/2332.

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Related Links
European Commission: Press Release, 02/12/2022: Ukraine: Commission proposes to criminalise the violation of EU sanctions
European Commission: Questions and Answers: Commission proposes to criminalise evasion of EU sanctions (2 December 2022)
Renew Europe EP Group: News, 02/12/2022: No hiding place for Putin's oligarchs

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