EU’s new sanctions envoy shifts focus to enforcement
The EU’s new special envoy on sanctions, David O’Sullivan, is set to "focus on implementation and tackling circumvention," he told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook.
After adopting 10 sanctions packages against Russia, several EU countries have pushed the European Commission to change its focus from adopting new sanctions against Russia to enforcing the existing ones. This will be the key responsibility for O’Sullivan.
"Last year demonstrated the EU’s and our partners’ resolve to stand up for what is right, notwithstanding the cost. But it also showed that, in some regards, we need to structurally adjust," O’Sullivan said. "The swift adoption of the 10 packages of sanctions has been a huge achievement. My role now is to ensure that they are effectively implemented and not circumvented via third countries."
O’Sullivan’s role is critical in the EU’s strategy to prevent Russia from obtaining crucial technology and income to finance Vladimir Putrin’s illegal war of aggression.
The former Secretary-General of the European Commission and EU ambassador to the United States said he was already in contact with countries that Russia may be using to circumvent sanctions.
“Cooperating and engaging in a dialogue with third countries that could be used as a platform for circumvention is vital,” he said. "I have already started my outreach by visiting the United Arab Emirates, together with my U.S. and U.K. counterparts. Further visits are in the making."
The enforcement of sanctions is a responsibility of EU countries, which means O’Sullivan will also have to look at differences within the bloc, a sensitive issue for many EU capitals. O’Sullivan said he was now working with EU countries and partners to overcome “constraints” in terms of “time and resources” to fight circumvention.