Academic journal article Georgetown Journal of International Law

Who Do I Call for an EU Sanctions Exemption? Why the EU Economic Sanctions Regime Should Centralize Licensing

Academic journal article Georgetown Journal of International Law

Who Do I Call for an EU Sanctions Exemption? Why the EU Economic Sanctions Regime Should Centralize Licensing

Article excerpt

  I. INTRODUCTION  II. EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AND THE RISE OF EU SANCTIONS      A. The Treaty of Rome and Early Efforts at Consolidating         Foreign Policy      B. Movement Toward Autonomous EU Sanctioning Authority      C. The Maastricht Treaty Lays the Groundwork for Modern         EU Sanctions      D. International Colloquy Influences EU Sanctions Regime III. THE EMERGENCE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AS A RELEVANT SANCTIONING      BODY      A. Sanctions Guidelines Established      B. New Administrative Infrastructure      C. Latest Sanctions Are Autonomous and Holistic         1. Going Beyond the U.N. Security Council in Libya           and Syria         2. Holistic Sanctions Against Iran      D. Separation of EU Sanctions Imposition and Implementation.         1. EU Sanctions Legislation         2. Delegation of Licensing and Other Functions  IV. THE EUROPEAN UNION SHOULD CENTRALIZE LICENSING      RESPONSIBILITIES      A. Member State Implementation and Enforcement Is Suboptimal      B. Centralized EU Licensing Would Foster Core Competencies         1. Flexibility         2. Ability to Mitigate Collateral Damage         3. Adaptability   V. CONCLUSION 


The ongoing revolutionary wave termed the "Arab Spring" by the media (1) has brought millions together in a grassroots effort to bring about democratic reforms, the recognition of human rights, and, in some cases, the overthrow of longstanding oppressive regimes. (2) The movement has led to the overthrow of governments in Tunisia, (3) Egypt, (4) Yemen, (5) and Libya. (6) It has also triggered other conflicts that remain ongoing, most notably President Bashar al-Assad's violent crackdown against opposition groups in Syria. (7)

Violent government responses to the Arab Spring demonstrations have elicited a range of responses from the Western world, from diplomatic missions (8) to direct military intervention. (9) A central element of the West's response, however, has been the use of economic sanctions. (10) Economic sanctions involve the deliberate withdrawal of normal economic relations between a sanctioning governmental body and a target country, government, entity, or individual in order to coerce the target to modify its behavior in a manner consistent with the sanctioning body's foreign policy objectives. (11) The United States, historically the predominant force on the international sanctions scene, (12) has issued a number of sanctions in response to government crackdowns against Arab Spring protestors, most notably in Libya and Syria. (13) These restrictive measures have reinforced the United States' preference for "holistic" sanctions--broad-based, categorical restrictions on doing business in targeted countries. (14)

More noteworthy, however, has been the emergence of another governmental body seeking to impose its political will through economic sanctions--the European Union. (15) Although official EU sanctions policy endorses targeted or "smart" sanctions, (16) the European Union has become increasingly aggressive in its response to the crises in the Middle East. EU sanctions imposed in the wake of the Arab Spring in Libya and Syria were autonomous (17) and holistic. (18) EU sanctions aimed at halting Iran's nuclear program were even more severe, imposing significant trade and financial restrictions that nearly matched measures imposed by the United States. (19)

The emergence of the European Union as a prominent sanctioning body may have persons subject to EU sanctions asking a familiar question: "Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?" This inquiry, long attributed to Henry Kissinger and adopted as a call to action by European integrationists, (20) is again relevant as multinational businesses struggle to discern their obligations under the evolving EU sanctions regime. (21) To the extent the European Union continues to act more aggressively, imposing broader-based, holistic sanctions, the potential for excess will be increasingly present. …

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