The European Neighbourhood Policy and the politics of sanctions

Authored by: Clara Portela

The Routledge Handbook on the European Neighbourhood Policy

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138913721
eBook ISBN: 9781315691244
Adobe ISBN:


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Sanctions are no stranger to the European Union’s (EU’s) neighbourhood. On the contrary, out of the sixteen European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partner countries, as many as seven have been at the receiving end of EU sanctions during the application of this policy framework. Seven out of sixteen amounts to 44 per cent of the total population of ENP countries – almost half. The list of neighbours affected by EU sanctions grows if we include sanctions measures taken informally, outside the context of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). And if we look at the EU’s periphery in a broader sense, encompassing the Balkans in the 1990s, Iran, Russia or Turkey, the list expands even further. A study on the geographical distribution of EU sanctions until the year 2004 concluded that sanctions were not only imposed more frequently at its periphery than further afield, but that they pursued objectives different from those advanced elsewhere (Portela 2005). Yet, despite their frequent use, most recently in the wake of the Arab uprisings, EU sanctions practice has attracted little attention among scholars studying the EU’s relations with its vicinity. This chapter introduces the EU’s employment of sanctions in the neighbourhood, as well as an assessment of this policy and of its connection to the ENP. It reviews the universe of CFSP sanctions imposed after the launch of the ENP in 2003, or already in force by then. In addition, it includes a case of suspension of direct aid, despite its status as a non-CFSP measure.

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