Motion for a resolution - B9-0456/2023Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the effectiveness of the EU sanctions on Russia

6.11.2023 - (2023/2905(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Sergey Lagodinsky, Saskia Bricmont, Anna Cavazzini, Francisco Guerreiro, Mounir Satouri
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0453/2023

Procedure : 2023/2905(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the effectiveness of the EU sanctions on Russia


The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Ukraine and on Russia, in particular since the escalation of Russia’s war against Ukraine in February 2022,

 having regard to the 11 consecutive packages of sanctions against Russia adopted by the EU since February 2022,

 having regard to the negotiating mandate adopted by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy on 9 February 2023, which was approved in plenary on 15 March 2023,

 having regard to the report of its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of 7 July 2023 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the definition of criminal offences and penalties for the violation of Union restrictive measures,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Russia has been carrying out an illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine since 24 February 2022; whereas this war of aggression constitutes a blatant and flagrant violation of the UN Charter and of the fundamental principles of international law; whereas in response to Russia’s war of aggression, the EU has adopted unprecedentedly tough sanctions through 11 consecutive packages targeting Russian political elites and key sectors of the Russian economy;

B. whereas the stated objective of the sanctions is to impose severe consequences on Russia for its actions and to effectively thwart Russia’s ability to continue its war of aggression, by weakening its economic base, hampering its access to military technologies and components, and undermining the Russian political and economic elite’s support for the regime;

C. whereas the EU has imposed a number of import and export restrictions on Russia as part of the economic sanctions to maximise their negative impact on the Russian economy; whereas the EU’s customs authorities are responsible for implementing these bans;

D. whereas the EU has also adopted targeted sanctions against Belarus and Iran in response to their involvement in Russia’s war of aggression;

E. whereas in June 2022, the Council adopted a sixth package of sanctions prohibiting the purchase, import or transfer of seaborne crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia to the EU; whereas the natural gas and nuclear sectors were not included in the sanctions; whereas numerous studies show that the EU is in a position to replace Russian gas entirely; whereas, despite the RepowerEU goal of ending EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, the EU has been importing record volumes of liquefied natural gas from Russia worth billions of euros;

F. whereas most experts warn that, although the sanctions are working, their the impact is not severe enough to limit Russia’s ability to wage war against Ukraine and call for additional measures to increase the scope and enforcement of the sanctions;

G. whereas, despite the latest sanction packages’ success in curtailing evasion, the direct flow of sanctioned, war-critical goods from the EU to Russia remains substantial; whereas research shows that several EU countries account for disproportionately large direct outflows of sanctioned goods to Russia, including Poland, Germany and Lithuania, with the latter shipping sanctioned goods partly via Belarus;

H. whereas Russia also continues to access restricted EU goods via supply chains running through third countries facilitating the circumvention of sanctions, notably Belarus, Georgia, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Kazakhstan;

I. whereas in December 2022, the EU appointed David O’Sullivan as International Special Envoy for the Implementation of EU Sanctions; whereas a specific anti-circumvention tool was included in the latest sanctions package, adopted in June 2023;

J. whereas the ever closer relations between Russia and China, both in terms of trade in energy and dual-use goods, as well as diplomatic and strategic support, have hampered the impact of the EU’s sanctions on Russia;

K. whereas Russian civil society and opposition figures living in exile in the EU have struggled with the disproportionate impact of some of the sanctions on their daily lives in ways that do not correspond to the objective of the EU’s sanctions policy and instead harm the credibility of the EU;

1. Reiterates its unwavering solidarity with the people and leadership of Ukraine and its support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognised borders;

2. Reiterates its strongest condemnation of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine, as well as of the involvement of the regime in Belarus; demands that Russia and its proxy forces cease all military actions and that Russia withdraw all military forces, proxies and military equipment from the entire internationally recognised territory of Ukraine, end its forced deportations of Ukrainian civilians and release all detained Ukrainians;

3. Underlines that, given that the EU sanctions on Russia are a foreign policy instrument aimed at ending an illegal war, circumventing such export restrictions on war-critical goods in certain grave cases could be considered and prosecuted as complicity in Russia’s war crimes;

4. Expresses its deep concern regarding ongoing trade in sanctioned war-critical goods between EU countries and Russia; deplores the serious lack of compliance culture regarding EU sanctions against Russia; condemns the practice in which sanctioned goods from the EU are sold to companies or individuals from third countries, while the goods are still in the EU, and then shipped directly to Russia; condemns companies, including those in the EU, that deliberately evade sanctions, yielding massive profits, and thereby undermine the EU’s efforts to support Ukraine;

5. Is deeply concerned that several third countries are reportedly assisting Russia in circumventing sanctions; appreciates, in this regard, the work of the International Special Envoy for the Implementation of EU Sanctions, David O’Sullivan; welcomes the inclusion of the new anti-circumvention tool as part of the 11th adopted sanctions package; is concerned about reports that Azerbaijan whitewashes Russian gas; calls for the urgent use of all possible tools to convince the Government of Azerbaijan to cease colluding with the Russian regime;

6. Insists that circumventing a Union restrictive measure, including by transferring goods to a destination where their import, export, sale, purchase, transfer, transit or transport are restricted, should be criminalised at EU level; stresses that it is critical for enforcement that the EU quickly criminalise direct sanctions violations, including when committed with serious negligence, as well as indirect sanctions violations through the circumvention of Union restrictive measures; reiterates, in this regard, its position on the Commission proposal for a directive on the definition of criminal offences and penalties for the violation of Union restrictive measures;

7. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide more human resources and technical support to national customs authorities dedicated to actively investigating any evidence or suspected cases of sanctions circumvention by companies in the EU, whether deliberate or not;

8. Calls on the Member States to revise their national sanctions legislation, adequately train sanctions enforcement authorities and increase transparency in enforcement where possible; urges enforcement authorities to improve the systematic monitoring of customs data;

9. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to explore options for positive incentives that can exist alongside stronger, more diligent enforcement, such as requiring that companies prove their full compliance with sanctions in order to be considered for tenders;

10. Points out the UK authorities’ relatively successful implementation and enforcement of sanctions and calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase technical cooperation with the UK and exchange best practices; stresses the need to continue close coordination and exchange of best practices on sanction enforcement with the United States, like-minded partners in the Asia-Pacific region and across the globe, including relevant international institutions;

11. Stresses that the implementation of sanctions should reduce any adverse humanitarian effects or unintended consequences for persons that are not targeted by these measures as much as possible; calls, in this regard, on the Commission and the Member States to minimise negative consequences for Russian and Belarusian civil society and opposition representatives in exile, as harming them does not contribute towards reaching the stated objective of the sanctions, namely limiting Russia’s ability to wage its war of aggression against Ukraine; calls on the Commission to review its interpretation of sanctions leading to the seizure and confiscation of items and vehicles for personal use only; stresses that such over compliance discredits the goal and instrument. of sanctions;

12. Calls on the Commission and the Council to swiftly adopt a 12th sanctions package that broadens the scope of sanctions, in particular on the economy and the energy sector, by prohibiting imports of Russian fossil fuels, uranium, nuclear technology and diamonds; calls further for the 12th sanctions package to expand the current military and dual-use licensing regime to include a much larger group of war-relevant goods, including digital components;

13. Calls on the Council to agree on a swift and complete phaseout of Russian gas from the Union market, including by ending direct and indirect imports of Russian liquefied natural gas;

14. Calls for sanctions on Russia’s nuclear sector, including individual sanctions against Rosatom’s leadership, in order to reduce and phase out Russia’s presence in Europe’s nuclear energy sector, to prevent technology transfers to Rosatom, to prevent vessels from Atomflot, a Rosatom subsidiary, from entering EU ports and to increase international pressure to end the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and more broadly ensure the safety of conflict-affected nuclear power plants;

15. Calls on the Commission and the Council, in the lead-up to a complete ban on imports of all Russian energy commodities, to lower markedly the price cap for Russian crude oil;

16. Stresses that Belarus remains a channel for certain sanctioned war-critical goods from the EU to Russia; calls, therefore, for the restrictive measures against Belarus to be fully aligned with those currently in place against Russia;

17. Expresses serious concern about the increasing trade in dual-use goods between China and Russia and calls on the Commission to use the 12th sanctions package to further target Chinese companies that are selling equipment that could be used in weapons to support Russia’s war machine;

18. Calls on the Council and the Commission to increase their transparency and professionalism regarding the way in which they identify persons that should be targeted or released from personal sanctions; reiterates that the current way of operating is hurting the reputation of the existing sanctions regime;

19. Calls on all Member States to remain united in their response to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and to provide comprehensive and substantive support to Ukraine’s energy sector during the upcoming winter season;

20. Calls on all EU candidate countries and potential candidates to align with the EU’s sanctions policy and implement it with the highest level of scrutiny;

21. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to further intensify their diplomatic efforts to broaden the coalition of countries, including in Africa, Asia and South America, that have joined and supported the sanctions;

22. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments of the Member States and the Russian authorities.

Last updated: 7 November 2023
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