Parliamentary questions
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25 September 2020
Question for oral answer O-000060/2020
to the Commission
Rule 136
Bernd Lange
on behalf of the Committee on International Trade
 Subject: The trade-related extraterritorial effects of sanctions imposed by third countries

The extraterritorial effects of a third country’s law might directly affect EU operators engaged in lawful international trade. The EU is committed to ensuring that they are free to conduct their business, in the EU and elsewhere, in accordance with international, EU and national laws.

1. In its communication of 30 April 2019(1), the Commission stated that the EU should use its economic weight to step up its capacity in the field of sanctions. How will the Commission improve existing tools and better equip itself against the extraterritorial effects of unilateral sanctions?

2. Is the initiative on strengthening Europe’s economic and financial sovereignty still a priority for the EU, knowing that the deadline for the revised post-COVID Commission work programme for 2020(2) has been moved forward?

3. The US has opposed the construction of Nord Stream 2 by sanctioning the companies that are laying down the pipes. How will the Commission counter this unlawful action? What actions is the Commission taking to address this issue with the relevant US authorities and protect the interests of EU citizens and companies?

4. INSTEX is a special purpose mechanism designed to enable EU companies to do legitimate business in Iran in accordance with the UN-Security-Council-approved Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). How will the Commission improve the efficacy of this instrument, in cooperation with the Member States?

5. How is the Commission addressing the consequences of the activation of Title III and IV of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act?

6. Since Member State authorities are responsible for the implementation of the Blocking Statute, how is the Commission ensuring a coordinated approach at EU level so that EU operators can recover damages and third country legislation does not take precedence over EU rules and decisions? When can we expect a new legislative proposal to replace it?

Submitted: 25/09/2020

Lapses: 26/12/2020

(1)Commission communication of 30 April 2019 entitled ‘Europe in May 2019: Preparing for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union in an increasingly uncertain world’ (COM(2019)0218).
(2)Commission communication of 29 January 2020 entitled ‘Commission Work Programme 2020 – A Union that strives for more’ and its annex (COM(2020)0037) and Commission communication of 27 May 2020 entitled ‘Adjusted Commission Work Programme 2020’ and its annex (COM(2020)0440).
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