Criminalisation of EU sanctions violations
The EU Council has unanimously decided to add the violation of restrictive measures to the list of ‘EU crimes’. See here for Council press release.
Currently Member States have different definitions of what constitutes a violation of EU sanctions and what penalties should be applied in the event of a violation. The Decision by the Council means that eventually these issues will be harmonised across the EU.
However, this will not happen immediately as now, the European Commission needs to present a proposal for a directive containing minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and penalties for the violation of EU sanctions. This draft directive will then need to be discussed and adopted by the Council and the European Parliament.
Proposal for European Public Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute/punish EU sanctions violations
In a related development, the Justice ministers of France and Germany have jointly published an article which argues that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office should be given the competence to prosecute and punish violations of EU sanctions. The article can be found here (available in German).