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Authoritarian regimes beware - the Eu will not help you launder your ill-gotten gains


02 Feb 2012


Global Europe

The European Parliament will vote on a report on EU policy towards the leaders of authoritarian regimes on Thursday during its mini plenary session in Brussels.  The report has been timed to coincide with a European Commission and EEAS review of the EU's sanctions policy which has been requested by the Council of Ministers.

Sir Graham Watson (Liberal Democrat, United Kingdom), who drafted the report, sends a clear message to authoritarian regimes "The EU will not help you launder your ill-gotten gains."

"The EU's hypocritical stance towards the leaders of authoritarian regimes needs to end. We publicly denounce their human rights records, while letting them busily stash their money away in our banks, own property within our borders, do business with our companies and holiday in our resorts. From Gaddafi to Mugabe, or Tunisia's Ben Ali to Burma's Than Shwe, authoritarian leaders and their money have in the past been far too welcome within our borders. Travel bans and asset freezes have only been put in place once the leaders are on their way out anyway. This is of no use."

Sir Graham would like to see the different arms of EU foreign policy - the Council, European External Action Service and European Commission - better coordinate their efforts on sanctions. EU countries should also repatriate frozen and confiscated assets of authoritarian leaders to their respective countries when they become democracies, so as not to deprive the populations concerned of this wealth.

He concluded : "What is useful is for us to punish these dictators - but not their people - while they are in power."


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