EU executive plans sanctions regime for Russian oligarchs’ relatives
No timeline for introduction, diplomats say.
The European Commission is preparing a new legal text that would make it possible to sanction family members of prominent Russian businessmen and women, three EU diplomats told POLITICO.
The EU executive briefed EU countries on Wednesday that it was working on listing criteria for family members, the diplomats said.
Sanctions hawks — Poland and the Baltic states — proposed a similar scheme in February. The Commission then promised to look into the issue in exchange for Poland dropping its resistance against the bloc’s 10th sanctions package at the end of February, a senior EU diplomat said at the time. Poland had claimed that trade restrictions for synthetic rubber didn’t go far enough and had refused to sign off on the package until it received more promises by the Commission for future sanctions.
The Commission did not provide details on what specific criteria it is planning on introducing, nor a timeline when that would happen, two of the diplomats said.
The Commission’s announcement to the 27 EU member states comes after the bloc’s second highest court ruled last week that slapping visa bans and asset freezes on people merely for the fact that they are family members is not legal. The case concerned the mother of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner mercenary army that is fighting in Ukraine.
Although the Council of the EU cited some business links between Prigozhin and his mother Violetta Prigozhina when sanctioning her, the court found that information to be outdated.
In an apparent attempt to make sanctions against Prigozhina and other individuals more watertight, the Council updated the entries for hundreds of the 1,500 sanctioned people on Wednesday.