11 Mar 2014

The EU’s Use of ‘Targeted’ Sanctions: Evaluating effectiveness

Clara Portela

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This study analyses the use by the European Union of the novel concept of ‘targeted sanctions’ in the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. It examines two sets of sanctions regimes featuring different degrees of efficacy: in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, the EU wielded measures in support of human rights and democracy objectives in the absence of a United Nations mandate, while it supplemented UN sanctions to stop nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. The study highlights a number of facilitators of, or hindrances to, the efficacy of sanctions, such as the degree of support by regional powers or the presence of UN legitimation. It concludes that the EU sanctions regimes could be optimised by using more robust measures, designing them on the basis of ex ante assessments, enabling faster upgrades, monitoring their impact and adjusting them regularly and improving outreach efforts.

Dr Clara Portela (clara.portela@eui.eu) is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Singapore Management University.