chapter  2
16 Pages

EU sanctions: evolution, legal framework and policy

From the early 1980s, the EC – later EU – established the practice of imposing sanctions on third countries in the absence of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) mandates. The following presents a general overview of the development, as well as the legal framework of this aspect of European foreign policy. The aim of this background chapter on the evolution and complex legal configuration of EU sanctions is to facilitate the understanding of this practice, illuminating both the political impulses that shaped the existing procedure and its impact on policy output. Understanding the institutional configuration of EU decision-making process

on sanctions is useful because it has a direct impact on their outcome. Ultimately, the institutional set-up for the adoption of sanctions also has an impact on efficacy. The flexibility with which the sanctions instrument can be wielded significantly affects its efficacy. Scholars emphasise the use of sanctions as part of a bargaining process, highlighting that the ability to reciprocate concessionsmade by the target is essential for success. In fact, those who have analysed EU sanctions policy have partly blamed complicated EU decision-making procedures for the inefficacy of their sanctions (de Wilde d’Estmael 1998, Buchet de Neuilly 2003). Also, the institutional and legal set up of sanctions instruments reflects the significance that the EU attaches to this instrument, and how it conceives of its utility.