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Parliamentary questions
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15 May 2020
Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000316/2020

The Commission regrets the full activation of the 1996 Helms-Burton (Libertad) Act by the United States.

The EU does not recognise the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by third countries, which it considers contrary to international law. Council Regulation (EC) No 2271/96(1) (the ‘Blocking Statute’) protects EU operators by nullifying the effect in the EU of any foreign court ruling and of any foreign administrative decision giving effect, directly and indirectly, to the foreign laws specified therein.

It also allows EU operators to recover in court damages, including legal costs, caused by the extra-territorial application of the specified foreign laws.

The Commission is supervising and coordinating the effective implementation of the Blocking Statute by Member States and is liaising with EU operators and Member States in order to support them in the application of the Blocking Statute.

Finally, the Commission continues its outreach with its international partners, which have also voiced their concerns in this regard.(2)

(1)Council Regulation (EC) No 2271/96 of 22 November 1996 protecting against the effects of the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by a third country, and actions based thereon or resulting therefrom (OJ L 309, 29.11.1996, p.1).
(2)Joint Statement by Federica Mogherini, Chrystia Freeland and Cecilia Malmström on the decision of the United States to further activate Title III of the Helms Burton (Libertad) Act, available at https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/61181/joint-statement-federica-mogherini-chrystia-freeland-and-cecilia-malmström-decision-united_ko .
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