In light of the continuing deterioration of the democracy and human rights in Venezuela, the Foreign Affairs Council of Ministers agreed on November 13 to adopt a first set of sanctions measures against Venezuela. These measures are reflected in two EU legal instruments, Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063 of 13 November 2017 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela and Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074 of 13 November 2017 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela.

At this stage, the measures are not intended to cut off commerce with specific sectors of the economy in Venezuela. Measures include:

  • A prohibition to sell, supply, transfer or export, directly or indirectly, goods and technology listed in the EU Common Military List, as well as equipment which may be used for internal repression as listed in Annex I of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063. Related financial and technical assistance is also prohibited.
  • A prohibition to sell, supply, transfer or export, directly or indirectly, equipment, technology or software, as listed in Annex II of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063. Related financial and technical assistance is also prohibited.

The measures also set out the legal framework for the future application of restrictive measures against a number of persons, entities and bodies which the EU will identify as being responsible for serious human rights violations or whose action have undermined democracy and the rule of law. Upon their identification, their assets will be frozen, and it will be prohibited to make any funds or economic resources directly or indirectly available to them. They will also be subject to travel restrictions in the EU.

It can be expected that the identification of these Venezuelan individuals and entities will shortly follow. The list is likely to mirror those which have been already targeted under US sanctions.