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S&Ds call for the inclusion of corruption in the EU sanctions regime


07 Jul 2021



With the strong support of the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament will adopt later today a resolution, calling for extending the scope of the current EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (EU GHRSR), to include acts of corruption. These sanctions would target economic and financial enablers of human rights abuses. Adopted by the Council in December 2020, the GHRSR allows targeting individuals or entities responsible for, or associated with, serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. Besides this, the S&Ds call for applying the qualified majority voting in Council for the decision of sanctions, and to involve the EP in the process of implementation and oversight of the new Sanctions Regime.

Marie Arena S&D MEP and chair of the human rights subcommittee and the EP co-rapporteur on this file, said:

“The new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is definitely a very welcome and important tool against perpetrators and serious human rights abusers. The fact that Russia and China adopted in response the retaliatory measures, aimed at deterring the EU from protecting human rights worldwide, only proves the potential strength of this new tool. Given that the European Parliament, and in particular its human rights subcommittee, are targeted by these countersanctions, I think it is perfectly legitimate to ask the Council to integrate the European Parliament in the works related to the EU Sanctions Regime.

“The retaliatory measures should not intimidate Europe! On the contrary. This shows to what extent the EU can have a real impact on the international scene, when the political will is there. We call on the Council to get rid of the unanimity rule when taking decisions on sanctions.  We need to overcome individual countries vetoes in foreign affairs if we want the EU to have a strong and meaningful voice.”

Isabel Santos, S&D MEP and negotiator on the EU Global Sanctions Regime, added: 

“The Socialists and Democrats have defended and fought for the new EU Sanctions Regime, because we believe it is essential to provide the European Union with the appropriate tools to defend its values and promote human rights globally. It’s definitely a very positive first step. But it is not enough.

“What the EU is missing, is the Anti-Corruption Regime, as it exists in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  We all know corruption can have a devastating impact on the state of human rights and undermines the rule of law. Therefore, we are calling to extend the scope of the current EU Sanctions Regime to acts of corruption: for targeting economic and financial enablers of human rights abuses. Finally, we would like to strengthen the role of the Parliament, including in proposing and scrutinising the application of sanctions, and we would like the decisions on sanctions to be taken by a qualified majority and not a paralysing unanimity.”