Restrictive measures against Belarus
Decision 2012/642/CFSP on restrictive measures against Belarus
Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 on restrictive measures against President Lukashenko and certain officials of Belarus
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DECISION AND THE REGULATION?
Decision 2012/642/CFSP and Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 set out sanctions to be imposed on the Belarusian regime and its supporters.
Following elections in Belarus in August 2020 and the subsequent repression of civil society and opposition activists, implementing decisions and regulations imposed travel bans and asset freezes on individuals and bodies or entities.
Further sanctions followed the unlawful forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk in May 2021. These included a ban on flying over EU territory and on access to EU airports by flights operated by Belarusian airlines.
In February and March 2022, following the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces and the involvement of Belarus in this aggression, an additional comprehensive package of sanctions was adopted by the Council of the European Union.
In June 2022, the EU decided to expand the scope of the sanctions to further implement the conclusions of the European Council of 24 March 2022 following the involvement of Belarus in the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
The European Union (EU) treaties provide the legal bases for the EU to impose sanctions on non-EU countries.
Restrictive measures (sanctions)
Decision 2012/642/CFSP and Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 set out the following.
A ban on the export of arms and equipment that might be used for internal repression (Annex III to the regulation lists such equipment).
A ban on providing technical or financial assistance for such equipment.
An asset freeze (the freezing of funds (financial assets and benefits of all kinds) and economic resources) and a travel ban (restricting the entry of individuals to EU Member States) for those:
- responsible for serious human rights violations;
- repressing civil society and democratic opposition;
- responsible for other activities that seriously undermine democracy or the rule of law in Belarus;
- benefiting or supporting the Lukashenko regime.
An updated list of those subject to asset freezing and travel bans is annexed to the regulation.
Council conclusions of October 2020
The elections held in Belarus in August 2020 were declared ‘neither free nor fair’ by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Besides the additional asset freezing and travel bans set out in Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/1388 and Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1387, the EU indicated that it was prepared to:
- take further restrictive measures against high-ranking officials, including Alexander Lukashenko;
- reduce its cooperation with the central Belarusian authorities;
- increase its support for the Belarusian people and civil society, making changes to its financial assistance accordingly.
Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/1650 and Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1648 update the list of high-ranking officials subject to EU restrictive measures, including Alexander Lukashenko.
In response to the brutality of the Belarusian authorities and in support of the democratic rights of the Belarusian people, on 19 November 2020, the Council agreed to proceed with the preparation of a further round of sanctions. In view of the ongoing repression of civil society in Belarus, Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2129 adds 29 persons and 7 entities to the list of natural and legal persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures set out in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 765/2006, and Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/2130 adds these 29 persons and 7 entities to the list set out in the Annex to Decision 2012/642/CFSP.
European Council conclusions of May 2021
Following the unlawful forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk in May 2021, the European Council called for:
- the immediate release of journalist Raman Pratasevich and his wife Sofia Sapega and for guarantees of their freedom of movement;
- the International Civil Aviation Organization to urgently investigate the incident.
In June 2021, the Council adopted:
- Regulation (EU) 2021/907 and Decision (CFSP) 2021/908 to amend Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 and Decision 2012/642/CFSP banning any aircraft operated by Belarusian airlines from landing on, taking off from or flying over EU territory, unless specifically authorised to do so in certain circumstances;
- Regulation (EU) 2021/996 and Decision (CFSP) 2021/1001 further amending Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 and the Annex to Decision 2012/642/CFSP to authorise the release of certain frozen funds or economic resources and to add one Belarusian individual to the list of sanctioned persons;
- Regulation (EU) 2021/997 and Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2021/1002 amending, respectively, Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 and the Annex to Decision 2012/642/CFSP to include 77 individuals and 7 legal persons in the list of sanctioned persons;
- Regulation (EU) 2021/1030 and Decision (CFSP) 2021/1031 amending, respectively, Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 and Decision 2012/642/CFSP setting out the definitions of dual-use goods and technology, investment services, transferable securities, money market instruments and credit institution, and introducing a ban on the sale, supply or transfer of equipment, technology and software intended for use in the monitoring and interception of telephone communications by the Belarusian authorities.
In November 2021, the Council adopted the following legal acts.
- Decision (CFSP) 2021/1989, which amends Decision 2012/642/CFSP and introduces certain exceptions to the ban on providing insurance and reinsurance to the Belarusian government and Belarusian public bodies and agencies, in order to avoid unintended consequences. Regulation (EU) 2021/1986 amends Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 to reflect this change.
- Decision (CFSP) 2021/1990 introduces an additional criterion to allow for targeted restrictive measures to be applied against those organising or contributing to activities by the Lukashenko regime that facilitate the illegal crossing of the EU’s external borders, the transfer of prohibited goods or the illegal transfer of restricted goods, including hazardous goods, into EU territory. Regulation (EU) 2021/1985 amends Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 to reflect this change.
Invasion of Ukraine by Russia, 24 February 2022
On 24 February 2022, following the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces and the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine, the High Representative indicated that the EU’s response would include both sectoral and individual restrictive measures. The Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2022/336 implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 on restrictive measures in respect of actions taken against Ukraine and Decision (CFSP) 2022/337 amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP (see summary).
On 2 March 2022, the Council adopted Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/353 implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014, Regulation (EU) 2022/355 amending Regulation (EC) No 765/2006, Decision (CFSP) 2022/354 amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP and Decision (CFSP) 2022/356 amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP. These acts contain targeted restrictions:
- in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, on 22 high-ranking Belarusian military personnel in view of their role in the decision-making and strategic planning that led to the Belarusian involvement in the Russian aggression against Ukraine;
- on the trade of goods used for the production or manufacturing of tobacco products, mineral fuels, bituminous substances and gaseous hydrocarbon products, potassium chloride (potash) products, wood products, cement products, iron and steel products and rubber products;
- on exports of dual-use goods and technology and of certain advanced goods and technology that might contribute to Belarus’s military, technological, defence and security development, and restrictions on providing related services.
On 9 March 2022, the Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2022/399 and Regulation (EU) 2022/398 amending Regulation (EC) No 765/2006. These acts:
- prohibit the listing of and provision of services related to shares of Belarusian state-owned entities on EU trading venues;
- limit financial deposits from Belarus to the EU;
- prohibit transactions with the central bank of Belarus;
- restrict the provision of specialised financial messaging services to certain Belarusian credit institutions and their Belarusian subsidiaries; and
- in the context of the single European sky, require the network manager for air traffic management to reject all flight plans filed by aircraft operators indicating an intent to carry out activities over EU territory or that of Belarus that constitute a violation of Regulation (EC) No 765/2006, such that the pilot is not permitted to fly.
On 8 April 2022, the Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2022/579 and Regulation (EU) 2022/577, marking further economic sanctions in response to the involvement of Belarus in the Russian aggression against Ukraine, with a view to effectively curbing Russian abilities to continue the aggression:
- prohibition on selling transferable securities denominated in any official currency of a Member State issued after 12 April 2022 or units in collective investment undertakings providing exposure to such securities, to any Belarusian national or natural person residing in Belarus or any legal person, entity or body established in Belarus;
- prohibition on selling, supplying, transferring or exporting banknotes denominated in any official currency of a Member State to Belarus or to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Belarus, including the government and the central bank of Belarus, or for use in Belarus, with some exceptions;
- prohibition on any road transport undertaking established in Belarus transporting goods by road within the territory of the EU, including in transit, with some exceptions and derogations.
In June 2022, in response to the continued involvement of Belarus in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU also adopted new sanctions against Belarus. Decision (CFSP) 2022/882 and Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2022/881 expand the list of entities subject to restrictions as regards authorisations for the sale, supply, transfer or export of dual-use goods and technology, along with goods and technology that might contribute to Belarus’s military and technological enhancement or the development of its defence and security sector. Decision (CFSP) 2022/882 also expands the list of Belarusian banks and subsidiaries subject to restrictive measures regarding the provision of specialised financial messaging services used for the exchange of financial data (SWIFT ban).
On the same day, the Council adopted Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2022/881 and Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/876, adding 12 new individuals and 8 entities to the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures in view of the gravity of the situation in Belarus, and the continuing violations of human rights and repression of civil society and democratic opposition.
FROM WHEN DO THE DECISION AND REGULATION APPLY?
Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 has applied since 20 May 2006.
Decision 2012/642/CFSP has applied since 1 November 2012.
For further information, see:
Council Decision 2012/642/CFSP of 15 October 2012 concerning restrictive measures against Belarus (OJ L 285, 17.10.2012, pp. 1–52).
Successive amendments to Decision 2012/642/CFSP have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Council Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 of 18 May 2006 concerning restrictive measures against President Lukashenko and certain officials of Belarus (OJ L 134, 20.5.2006, pp. 1–11).
See consolidated version.
Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union – Title V – General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy – Chapter 2 – Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy – Section 1 – Common provisions – Article 29 (ex Article 15 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 33).
Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – Part Five – The Union’s external action – Title IV – Restrictive measures – Article 215 (ex Article 301 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 144).
Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (OJ L 78, 17.3.2014, pp. 6–15).
See consolidated version.
Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (OJ L 78, 17.3.2014, pp. 16–21).
See consolidated version.
last update 10.06.2022