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Updating the Blocking Regulation: The EU's answer to US extraterritorial sanctions

07-06-2018

On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced the unilateral US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark nuclear agreement signed by Iran and the E3/EU+3 – France, Germany, the UK and the EU plus China, Russia and the USA – in 2015. He also announced that the US would re-impose sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the implementation of the JCPOA. These sanctions have extraterritorial effect, essentially making it illegal for EU companies and financial institutions ...

On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced the unilateral US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark nuclear agreement signed by Iran and the E3/EU+3 – France, Germany, the UK and the EU plus China, Russia and the USA – in 2015. He also announced that the US would re-impose sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the implementation of the JCPOA. These sanctions have extraterritorial effect, essentially making it illegal for EU companies and financial institutions to engage in a wide range of economic and commercial activities with Iran. Companies that disregard the US secondary sanctions face major fines and/or criminal charges in the US, or even exclusion from the US market. US sanctions will be reinstated after a 90- or 180-day wind-down period, to allow companies to make the necessary arrangements. Following the signing of the JCPOA in 2015, European companies have entered into important commercial and investment agreements with Iranian counterparts, worth billions of euros. Many of these companies also have important commercial ties with the US. Faced with the prospect of penalties in the US, several EU companies have already announced that they are ending their dealings with Iran, unless a way can be found to exempt or shield them from US secondary sanctions. In response, the Commission adopted a delegated act on 6 June 2018 to update the annex to the 'Blocking Regulation', which was adopted in 1996 to protect EU businesses against the effects of the extraterritorial application of legislation adopted by a third country. The Blocking Regulation forbids EU persons from complying with extraterritorial sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgment based on them. The effectiveness of the regulation as a mechanism to offset US sanctions has been questioned, however its adoption sends an important political message. Parliament now has two months to object to the delegated act, but may signal earlier that it will not do so, thus allowing the measure to come into force earlier than the end of the two-month period.

Free movement of capital within the European Union

31-05-2018

Amongst the four fundamental freedoms that underpin the EU single market (free movement of persons, goods, services and capital), the free movement of capital is the most recent. Until the mid-1990s it did not exist in practice in a number of Member States. Financial operations in other Member States or in other currencies within the EU were subject to prior authorisation requirements by national authorities. These controls enabled national authorities to prevent or restrict financial operations. ...

Amongst the four fundamental freedoms that underpin the EU single market (free movement of persons, goods, services and capital), the free movement of capital is the most recent. Until the mid-1990s it did not exist in practice in a number of Member States. Financial operations in other Member States or in other currencies within the EU were subject to prior authorisation requirements by national authorities. These controls enabled national authorities to prevent or restrict financial operations. Free movement of capital became applicable with the 1993 Maastricht treaty, which removed all restrictions on capital movements and payments, both between Member States and with third countries. The principle has direct effect, meaning that it requires no further legislation at either EU or Member State level.

Council Framework Decision 2001/413 on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment

27-11-2017

Council Framework Decision 2001/413 (CFD) on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions related to fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment, as well as the mechanisms for cross-border cooperation and exchange of information. Adopted in 2001, the CFD is now 16 years old. Evidence collected through the Commission’s evaluation and stakeholder consultation confirms the existence of ...

Council Framework Decision 2001/413 (CFD) on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions related to fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment, as well as the mechanisms for cross-border cooperation and exchange of information. Adopted in 2001, the CFD is now 16 years old. Evidence collected through the Commission’s evaluation and stakeholder consultation confirms the existence of significant challenges related to the implementation of the CFD. Overall, it appears that the CFD has not caught up with the technological developments of payment instruments, nor with the increasingly advanced techniques of non-cash fraud. Many Member States have in the meantime updated their respective legal frameworks individually in an effort to respond to these developments. This has resulted in a patchwork of different frameworks within the EU. It has also potentially opened the door to 'forum shopping' (i.e. criminals exploiting the system by moving to those Member States that have more lenient sanctions). The challenges identified include outdated/incomplete definitions, different levels of penalties in Member States, differences in criminalisation of preparatory acts in Member States, difficulties in allocating jurisdiction, under-reporting to law enforcement bodies, etc. The Commission evaluation finds that ‘[a]s a whole, the [CFD] does not appear to have fully met its objectives.’ In the light of the above, in September 2017, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a new directive that would replace the CFD.

'Paradise papers' in a nutshell

13-11-2017

The latest leak of tax-related documents, known as the ‘Paradise papers’, was made public on 5 November 2017. The results of a joint investigation are now being released in instalments. The papers provide additional evidence on the involvement of offshore law firms in tax optimisation practices.

The latest leak of tax-related documents, known as the ‘Paradise papers’, was made public on 5 November 2017. The results of a joint investigation are now being released in instalments. The papers provide additional evidence on the involvement of offshore law firms in tax optimisation practices.

Financial market fragmentation in the euro area: state of play

15-09-2016

The notes in this compilation assess the implications and risks stemming from persistent fragmentation of euro area financial markets for the transmission of monetary policy and discuss feasible policy options which may be effective in reducing this fragmentation. The papers prepared by the members of the Monetary Expert Panel have been requested by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs as an input for the September 2016 session of the Monetary Dialogue.

The notes in this compilation assess the implications and risks stemming from persistent fragmentation of euro area financial markets for the transmission of monetary policy and discuss feasible policy options which may be effective in reducing this fragmentation. The papers prepared by the members of the Monetary Expert Panel have been requested by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs as an input for the September 2016 session of the Monetary Dialogue.

Zunanji avtor

Paul BERENBERG-GOSSLER (Hertie School of Governance / Jacques Delors Institute), Henrik ENDERLEIN (Hertie School of Governance / Jacques Delors Institute), Salomon FIEDLER (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), Klaus-Jürgen GERN (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), Matthias RADDANT (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), Ulrich STOLZENBURG (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), Christophe BLOT (OFCE), Jérôme CREEL (OFCE & ESCP Europe), Paul HUBERT (OFCE), Fabien LABONDANCE (CRESE, Université de Besançon & OFCE), Roman HORVÁTH (Charles University), Corrado MACCHIARELLI (London School of Economics), Panagiotis KOUTROUMPIS (Queen Mary University of London)

Twenty years on: Deepening the Single Market

18-10-2012

Twenty years after its launch, the European Single Market (SM) continues to develop. However, the European Commission's (EC) recent attempts to deepen the SM have encountered delays in adoption and appear to need stronger pressure on Member States to implement. The European Council has called for prioritisation of measures most beneficial to growth and jobs.

Twenty years after its launch, the European Single Market (SM) continues to develop. However, the European Commission's (EC) recent attempts to deepen the SM have encountered delays in adoption and appear to need stronger pressure on Member States to implement. The European Council has called for prioritisation of measures most beneficial to growth and jobs.

Internal Market beyond the EU : EEA and Switzerland

15-01-2010

This briefing paper looks at the functioning of the extended Internal Market and examines two models of integration: the economic integration of the EU and Switzerland via sectoral bilateral agreements and the EEA agreement that governs relations between EU and the EEA states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. The paper identifies challenges related to the agreements and points to ways to enhance the performance of the extended Internal Market.

This briefing paper looks at the functioning of the extended Internal Market and examines two models of integration: the economic integration of the EU and Switzerland via sectoral bilateral agreements and the EEA agreement that governs relations between EU and the EEA states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. The paper identifies challenges related to the agreements and points to ways to enhance the performance of the extended Internal Market.

Zunanji avtor

Christa Tobler (Universities of Leiden and Basel)

Agreement on the European Economic Area - Background and Contents

28-09-1993

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