What We Do

Introduction to trade sanctions

Restrictive measures (sanctions)

Restrictive measures, also referred to as sanctions, are legally binding measures that can be taken against individuals, entities or countries. Sanctions are adopted by the United Nations Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and through decisions taken at European Union level. 

UN sanctions

Sanctions measures adopted by the UN are binding on all UN Member States. They are typically implemented in the EU through EU measures (such as Council Decisions and Council Regulations), in order to ensure their consistent implementation in all EU Member States.

EU sanctions

In addition to implementing UN sanctions, the EU adopts autonomous sanctions of its own, under its Common Foreign and Security Policy (Article 215 TFEU), as well as in relation to preventing and combating terrorism and related activities (Article 75 TFEU). 

EU sanctions are instruments used by the EU to bring about a change in the policies or activities of other countries. They can be used to tackle violations of international law or human rights, and to promote peace, democracy, and the rule of law. Sanctions will generally include trade measures such as restrictions or embargoes on exports of certain items to specific countries or end-users. For example, the export of military equipment or equipment that could be used for internal repression may be prohibited.

The EU has over 40 different sanctions regimes in place. Up to date information on EU sanctions can be found on the EU Sanctions Map. This is an interactive map which shows all countries which are currently subject to EU sanctions and provides information on the individual regimes. 

The legal basis for EU sanctions is provided by EU regulations, however, Member States are required to establish penalties under national law for breaches of the regulations. 

Regulation of trade sanctions

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has responsibility (policy, administration and enforcement) as a National Competent Authority for EU Trade Sanctions. The Authorised Officers in the department’s Trade Compliance and Enforcement team monitor compliance with EU sanctions, along with promoting compliance through outreach programmes for exporters and other stakeholders. 

Financial sanctions

The department does not administer financial sanctions. Financial sanctions and related asset freezing restrictions are a matter for the Department of Finance and, at an operational level, are handled by the Central Bank. Contact details are as follows: 

Website: International Financial Sanctions - Central Bank of Ireland

Email: sanctions@centralbank.ie

EU restrictive measures in response to the situation in Ukraine

An extraordinary meeting of the Council of the EU on 3 March 2014 condemned the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia. An overview of the decisions taken by the European Union regarding restrictive measures since this meeting may be found in a timeline on the department’s website. The department also provides a guidance note on current restrictive measures in response to the situation in Ukraine. 

The EU non-recognition policy for Crimea and Sevastopol

Information on the EU non-recognition policy for Crimea and Sevastopol may be found in a factsheet produced by the European Union External Action Service.