Expert dialogue on EU Blocking Regulation and extraterritorial US sanctions


Utrecht University’s Law School’s research programme Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE) organizes an afternoon expert dialogue on 18 April on the EU Blocking Regulation and extraterritorial US sanctions. The aim of the seminar is to understand the EU’s motives for the reactivation of the Regulation, analyze its provisions, identify implementation problems, and discuss its effectiveness in countering US extraterritorial sanctions and protecting the EU’s economic sovereignty in respect of its trade relations with Iran.

On 6 June 2018, the European Commission reactivated the so-called ‘EU Blocking Regulation’ in response to the US repudiation of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and the reinstatement of US sanctions against Iran. The US sanctions include extraterritorial or secondary sanctions, and make certain business transactions between EU persons and Iran sanctionable under US law. Back in 1996, the EC enacted the EU Blocking Regulation (EC Regulation 2271/96) to protect EU economic interests from the first generation of US secondary sanctions, but after a deal was struck between the EU and US, the Statute lay dormant until 2018. Given the state of US-EU relations, in particular US unwillingness to compromise, it is not unlikely that this time around, the Blocking Regulation will be applied. Under the Blocking Regulation, EU citizens are barred from complying with US sanctions. Second, they are entitled to claim damages for injury suffered as a result of the application of US sanctions. The effectiveness of the Blocking Regulation is unclear, however. Caught between US and EU law, EU businesses may tend to comply with US sanctions law for fear of losing access to the US market, and risk sanctions under the EU Blocking Regulation. How vigorously EU Member States will enforce the EU Blocking Regulation also remains an open question.  


14h-14h30 Prof. Cedric Ryngaert (UU/RENFORCE): welcome and introduction of the EU Blocking Regulation  
14h30-15h Prof. Turaj Atabaki (Senior Researcher, International Institute of Social History; Professor Emeritus, holder of the chair of the Social History of the Middle East and Central Asia at  Leiden University):
The United States Sanctions and the Possible Cracks in Iran’s Political Armour 
15h-15h30 Ellie Geranmayeh (Senior Policy Fellow and Deputy Head of the MENA Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations, London): Europe's Clash with US Sanctions.
The Policy Underpinning the EU's Blocking Statute 
15h30-15h45 Coffee break 
15h45-16h15 Robbert de Bree (Wladimiroff Lawyers, The Hague)
Practical Challenges of Implementing the EU Blocking Regulation  
Prof. Tom Ruys (Professor of International Law, Ghent University): Europe's Clash with US Sanctions: The Policy Underpinning the EU's Blocking Statute 
16h45-17h15 General discussion and concluding remarks 
17h15-18h Drinks  

Start date and time
End date and time
Newtonlaan 201, 3584 BH Utrecht, room 5A-34/38
Entrance fee
Free of charge

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