European Journal of Law Reform

Article

Building Resilience Against Secondary Sanctions in an Increasingly Polarized World

The Amendment of the EU Blocking Statute

Keywords sanctions, economic sanctions, secondary sanctions, European Union, blocking statute
Authors Mario Mas Palacios
Author's information

Mario Mas Palacios
Mario Mas Palacios, LL.M. Harvard Law School. Fulbright Scholar and Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard Scholar. International Associate Lawyer at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (New York, NY, USA). Associate Lawyer at Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, S.L.P. (Barcelona, Spain).
  • Abstract

      The spectre of foreign secondary sanctions is looming large again in the European Union after the reinstatement in 2018 of US sanctions with extraterritorial effects on Iran. However, in a context of increasing global polarization and geopolitical tensions, the challenge of secondary sanctions goes beyond US sanctions against Iran. The EU 1996 blocking statute is aimed at countering the negative effects that these sanctions have in the European Union, but there is a general consensus that it has failed to preserve the Union’s interests. This article analyses the challenges that secondary sanctions pose in the European Union and the current response provided by the blocking statute. It suggests that an amended statute may play an important role within the broader European policy against secondary sanctions, although it is not by itself a sufficient mechanism. It concludes by suggesting how the statute could be amended to better achieve its objectives.

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