Inquiry launched on UK sanctions policy post Brexit

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee has launched a new inquiry into the UK’s sanctions policy after Brexit.

4 April 2017

The House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the UK’s sanctions policy after Brexit.

Sanctions such as asset freezes, visa or travel bans, and trade embargoes are one of the EU's tools to promote the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The CFSP seeks to preserve peace and strengthen international security, promote international cooperation, and develop and consolidate democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

By way of example, the EU has progressively imposed economic sanctions on Russia since March 2014 in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine. Such measures, which are due to continue in force until at least 31 July 2017, include the following restrictions:  

  • limiting access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for five major Russian majority state-owned financial institutions, as well as three major Russian energy and three defence companies;
  • export and import ban on trade in arms;
  • export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia; and
  • limiting Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration.

The inquiry to be undertaken by the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee will explore:

  • the advantages and disadvantages of future co-operation between the UK and EU on sanctions policy;
  • how such co-operation might take place;
  • examples of EU co-ordination with non-Member States on sanctions;
  • the current sanctions regime and how this will be transposed into UK law, including through the Great Repeal Bill; and
  • the impact of a separate UK sanctions regime on the UK's ability to achieve its foreign policy goals.

The Committee will hold oral evidence sessions for the inquiry in April and May 2017. We will continue to monitor progress and publish further updates as information becomes available.