I. Introduction

The EU has updated its sanctions measures against Syria, North Korea and Zimbabwe.

For Syria, the Council has renewed its sanctions for a further three months, while introducing certain amendments to the existing arms embargo in the interest of protecting civilians.

For North Korea, the EU has introduced several new sanctions measures – involving trade bans for ballistic missile components, precious metals and diamonds and public bonds, as well as restrictions relating to banknotes and banks – and the list of parties whose assets are frozen has been expanded.

To recognise the significance of certain advances in Zimbabwe, the EU has decided to delist certain persons and entities whose assets are frozen, while at the same time extending the sanctions for another year.

II. Syria

In a Council Decision that was adopted on 28 February 2013, the EU decided to extend the sanctions measures against Syria for another three months (i.e. until 1 June 2013).1 In addition, the existing arms embargo provisions have been amended to allow for provision of non-lethal equipment and technical assistance for the protection of civilians. This Council Decision was published, and entered into force, on 1 March 2013. Click here for our previous alerts on EU Syria sanctions.

III. North Korea

In response to recent nuclear and ballistic missile testing, the EU has recently taken steps to strengthen its sanctions measures against North Korea. This involves implementation of sanctions approved by the UN (most recently in January 2013), such as an expansion of the list of designated parties subject to an asset freeze. This expansion of the designated party list has already been implemented through a Commission Regulation (Commission Implementing Regulation 137/2013), which entered into effect on 19 February 2013.2

In addition to implementing the UN sanctions, the EU has added to its own sanctions regime against North Korea. These new sanctions were introduced through a Council Decision published on 19 February 2013.3 An implementing regulation specifying important details of the new sanctions elements is expected in the near future. In broad terms, they involve the following: 

  • The adoption of an additional criterion focusing on parties (including those providing financial services) supplying arms and related materials to the DPRK, as a result of which additional parties will have their assets frozen (the list of persons affected will be adopted later);
  • A ban of export of key components for ballistic missiles, such as certain types of aluminium;
  • Prohibition of trade in new public bonds from North Korea;
  • A ban on trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with North Korean public bodies;
  • A ban on delivery of new North Korean denominated banknotes and coinage to the central bank of North Korea; and 
  • Restrictions on North Korean Banks opening new branches in the EU or establishing joint ventures with EU financial institutions, as well as a ban on EU banks to establish offices and subsidiaries in North Korea.

IV. Zimbabwe

In a Regulation published on 20 February 2013, the EU has removed 21 natural persons and one entity from the list of parties whose assets are frozen under the sanctions against Zimbabwe.4 This delisting entered into force as of 21 February 2013.

In parallel, the Council adopted a Decision5 extending the sanctions by another year (until 20 February 2014), but continuing the suspension of the travel ban for certain listed natural persons.