chapter  5
25 Pages

The efficacy of ‘informal’ sanctions

The present chapter brings together sanctions whose common denominator is that they were adopted in the absence of a CFSP act, and outside any contractual bilateral framework. The notion of ‘informal sanctions’ is neither an established category in sanctions research, nor does it belong to the EU’s legal terminology. The present investigation employs this term to describe a heterogeneous group of measures wielded by the EU against third countries in order to place pressure on the leadership targeted, encompassing diplomatic sanctions, the postponement of signing or ratification of agreements and the redirection of aid. What they have in common is that, while they fit into this investigation’s definition of ‘sanction’, they are adopted outside the legal frameworks featured in other sections of this study, namely the CFSP, ACP and GSP Regulations. Some were announced in EU Presidency statements, others appeared in conclusions of the European Council or the General Affairs and External Relations (GAEC) Council; in other cases no evidence of the decision on the measures exists apart from a letter. Table 5.1 features all cases of informal sanctions identified in the present

study. Their common denominator is the absence of a specific label. Unlike CFSP ‘restrictive measures’ or the ACP’s ‘appropriate measures’, they have not been categorised into any generic group. They are merely referred to as ‘measures’. In the very early days of the EPC, ‘informal’ sanctions were commonplace. As more elaborate legal instruments became available, the EU formalised its ongoing sanctions regimes, transforming them into CFSP Common Positions. The measures discussed in the present chapter have never been the subject of CFSP acts even though many of them were agreed after these instruments became available. Thus, the practice of imposing informal sanctions continued in parallel to the formal practice of the CFSP.