Latest update on 15 March 2022 at 5:00 pm
Following up on the informal meeting of the EU heads of state and government on 10-11 March, the Council today decided to impose a fourth package of economic and individual sanctions in respect of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.
“As President Putin’s war against Ukrainian people continues, so does our resolve to support Ukraine and cripple the financing of Kremlin’s war machinery. This fourth package of sanctions is another major blow to the economic and logistic base upon which Russia relies on to carry out the invasion of Ukraine. The aim of the sanctions is that President Putin stops this inhuman and senseless war,” Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy pointed.
The relevant legal acts have been already published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The sanctions will be effective from tomorrow and the sanctions to the people newly included in the list is effective from today.
The president of Ukraine, Volodimyr Zelensky, talking about a conversation with the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted yesterday: “… Increasing sanctions pressure on Russia is important. We also appreciate significant financial assistance. Ukraine continues to move towards membership in the EU”.
The 4th EU sanctions package
The Council decided in particular to:
1.- Forbid all transactions with certain state-owned enterprises.
2.- Prohibit the provision of any credit rating services, as well as access to any subscription services in relation to credit rating activities, to any Russian person or entity.
3.- Expand the list of persons connected to Russia’s defence and industrial base, on whom tighter export restrictions are imposed regarding dual-use goods and goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s technological enhancement of its defence and security sector.
4.- Prohibit new investments in the Russian energy sector, as well as a to introduce a comprehensive export restriction on equipment, technology and services for the energy industry.
5.- Introduce further trade restrictions concerning iron and steel, as well as luxury goods.
6.- Furthermore, the Council decided to sanction key oligarchs, lobbyist and propagandists pushing the Kremlin’s narrative on the situation in Ukraine as well as key companies in the aviation, military and dual use, shipbuilding and machine building sectors.
Excluding Russia from the WTO and suspending Belarus accession
Separately, the Council gave a green light to the Commission to join, on behalf of the EU, a plurilateral statement on aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine with the support of Belarus, that is expected to be issued in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Like other WTO Members that are to co-sponsor that statement, the EU confirmed today its readiness to take any actions that are considered necessary to protect its essential security interests, including: Actions in support of Ukraine, or actions to suspend concessions or other obligations with respect to the Russian Federation, such as the suspension of most-favoured-nation treatment to products and services of the Russian Federation.
Taking into account Belarus’ material support to the actions of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the EU considers that its WTO accession process must be suspended.
The World Travel Organisation also discussing Russia’s exclusion
The UNWTO (World Travel organisation) Executive Council decided latest 8th March to hold an extraordinary UNWTO General Assembly to address the suspension of the membership of the Russian Federation. The first ever Extraordinary UNWTO General Assembly will be convened in the coming days. This was the first time in the history of UNWTO that the Executive Council met to address a request to consider suspending a Member from the Organization.
The aggression against Ukraine is inconsistent with the United Nations Charter and contravenes the fundamental aim of the UNWTO as enshrined in Article 3 of its Statutes, which states the “promotion and development of tourism with a view to contributing to economic development, international understanding, peace, prosperity and universal respect for, and observance of, human rights”, as the fundamental principles of the Organization.
“War is never a solution! Not now, and not ever. But it is evident that not everybody is committed to this ideal,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. He added: “For this reason, UNWTO, and me as the voice of the Organization, must be loud and clear: If you are a Member, then you commit to our rules. And you must embrace our values. So, when Members go against our goals, there must be consequences.”
In accordance with its Statutes, the UNWTO General Assembly alone has the sovereign responsibility to decide on the suspension of membership of any Member State, if it found that the Member persists in a policy contrary to the fundamental aims of the Organization, as enshrined in article 3 of its Statutes.