Most Read Contributor in British Virgin Islands, March 2017
Cyprus and the implementation of EU sanctions
Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004. Despite this Cyprus is
currently the only Member State of the Union which is not a member
of NATO and has historically been part of the non-aligned movement.
As a Member State, the EC's "acquis communautaire"
(roughly translated as EC jurisprudence) applies to the whole of
Cyprus under its de facto control. In addition Cyprus is required
to comply with the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy
(CFSP). Application of the "acquis" and CFSP means that
Cyprus fully implements all sanctions, asset freezing policies and
related laws adopted by the European Union. Derogation of Cyprus
national and domestic law to the laws of the European Union is
guaranteed under the Constitution of Cyprus (Article 1A).
BVI, the Cayman Islands and the implementation of EU
The BVI and the Cayman Islands are both Overseas Territories of
the United Kingdom (UK). The UK has been a Member State of the
European Union and its predecessors since 1973 however the Overseas
Territories are not part of the United Kingdom or the European
Economic Area. Nevertheless as dependencies of the UK they are
still obliged to comply with the Union's CFSP.
To give effect to the CFSP the UK legislates directly for its
Territories, including the BVI and the Cayman Islands, through
legislation known as Orders in Council.
EU sanctions imposed on Ukraine
On 5 March 2014 the Council of the European Union issued CFSP
119 (Decision 2014/119/CFSP) which directed the Union and every
Member State to impose restrictions and freezing orders on all
funds and economic resources of listed persons "responsible
for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds and human rights
violations". Listed persons include the former President of
Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, his family and close acquaintances.
On the same day, the Council issued Regulation 208 (Regulation
(EU) 208/2014) which provides for the following restrictions:
All funds and economic resources belonging to, owned, held or
controlled by any natural or legal person, entity or body as listed
in Annex I is frozen: Article 2(1).
No funds or economic resources may be made available directly
or indirectly, to or for the benefit of natural or legal persons,
entities or bodies listed in Annex I: Article 2(2).
Listed persons in Annex I include the former President of
Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, his family and close allies. As is
common to sanctions legislation, derogations from the restrictions
above are provided for in the case of basic needs payments, legal
expenses and pre-existing contractual payments – however an
application must be made to the competent authorities in the EU in
order to benefit from these. In addition to the restrictions in
Regulation (EU) 208/2014 the Member States have been directed and
have agreed to suspend export licences on any equipment, military
or otherwise, which may be used in Ukraine for internal
In order to fully implement these EU sanctions the UK government
passed the following legislation on 6 March 2014:
Ukraine (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2014
(SI 2014/507), which applies within the UK and to UK nationals and
companies in order to further enforce criminal sanctions.
Ukraine (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2014 (SI
2014/497), which extends the effect of EU sanctions (and criminal
offences) in the UK's Overseas Territories, including the BVI
and the Cayman Islands, to its residents and nationals, including
to companies and other undertaking established there.
EU sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation?
At present the EU's CFSP has not called on the Union to
impose any sanctions or restrictions on the Russian Federation,
however it has commented that: "In the absence of
de-escalating steps by Russia, the EU shall decide about
consequences for bilateral relations between the EU and Russia, for
instance suspending bilateral talks with Russia on visa matters as
well as on the New Agreement, and will consider further targeted
measures. The Council decides to remain permanently seized, in
order to be in a position to take rapidly all necessary
measures." (Council of the EU Conclusions on Ukraine, 3 March
At this stage it is difficult to tell whether any sanctions will
be imposed, however it should be noted that the sanctions now on
the Ukraine follow the format of regimes imposed on other countries
such as Belarus, ex- Yugoslavia, and Moldova (Transnistria) and as
such may form a precedent going forward.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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