On 6 October 2020, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) and the Council of Europe launched a new joint project on “Effective and uniform implementation of the sanctions’ regime in EU Member States” through an online kick-off meeting of its Project Advisory Group.

The event was opened by Ms Nathalie BERGER, Director for Support to Member State reforms, who stressed the importance of the effective implementation of sanctions in the framework of the direct support provided to Ukraine following the consequences of its aggression by the Russian Federation on 24 February 2022. She underlined that the project is expected to have a substantial impact and is considered as one of the most important initiatives driven by DG REFORM in the coming years.

Ms Hanne JUNCHER, Head of the Action against Economic Crime Department of the Council of Europe, has further reiterated that for the sanctions to achieve their main purpose there is a need for effective and uniform implementation across all EU Member States, which requires strong coordination and sharing of experiences and good practices that will be the objective to be achieved within the framework or the project.

The event was also attended by the three main project beneficiaries – the Financial Analytical Office of the Czech Republic, the Sanctions Monitoring Board of Malta and the State Revenue Service of Latvia – who expressed their enthusiasm and expectations with regard to the results of this joint initiative which will seek to identify good freezing and seizing practices, practices and methodologies for identification of the person or entity in effective control of a companies, as well as possible ways of avoiding the circumvention of sanctions through disinvestment or through the use of virtual assets and virtual assets service providers.

Although the Czech, Maltese and Latvian authorities will be the main project beneficiaries, the project will include as many EU member states as possible while undertaking the various mapping and analytical exercises.