In December 2020, the European Union adopted two complementary legal instruments, namely Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1999 (Council Decision) and Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 (Council Regulation), which have provided the Union with a new Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) tool, a new sanctions regime.
The new regime, also presented as the ‘EU Magnitsky Act’, represents the latest development of EU targeted sanctions, in line with a global trend toward individualisation. It empowers the Union, more precisely the (Foreign Affairs) Council, to impose restrictive measures on individuals personally responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. Targeted individuals, once having listed in the regime, are subjected to two types of restrictive measures: (1) financial sanctions (meaning that EU operators must comply with the obligation to freeze all assets, funds and economic resources of the listed persons, and must also ensure that they do not make any funds or economic resources available to them) (see Article 3 Council Regulation) and (2) travel ban (meaning that Member States shall take the measures necessary to prevent the entry into, or transit through, their territories) (see Article 2 Council Decision).
In the following blog post, the new EU regime will be subject to a SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis. This kind of study is usually applied for evaluating business projects, initiatives or products, and it is rarely used in the legal field. However, the advantage of a SWOT analysis is that it has a clear and schematic structure – which can be most valuable in the legal field too. In fact, it will allow us to better understand the new regime, assessing (and comparing) its potentials and limits, particularly focusing on what obstacles it must overcome or minimize to achieve the desired results.