EU Amends Libyan Sanctions Regime and Extends Asset Freeze

April 8, 2011

The EU Council of Ministers has adopted several new measures extending the EU Libyan sanctions regime, which was last extended on March 21. The new measures are Decision 2011/178 of March 23, 2011, which implements UN Security Council Resolution 1973 of March 17, 2011, but goes further in some respects, and Regulations 288/2011 of March 23, 2011 and 296/2011 of March 25, 2011.

The new measures extend the EU asset freeze to a number of additional persons and entities. Importantly, the Regulations confirm that the EU’s freeze of funds and economic resources do not apply to entities in which sanctioned persons or entities have a stake; these entities may continue with their legitimate business, as long as this does not involve making any funds or economic resources available to designated persons or entities. At the same time, the Decision obliges Member States to require persons and entities under their jurisdiction to exercise “vigilance” in dealing with Libyan entities that are not covered by the asset freeze to prevent business that could contribute to violence against civilians, without indicating what specific measures would be required or sufficient. The limitation on “legitimate” business activities of entities whose shareholders are subject to sanctions and the new “vigilance” requirement can be read as increasing the level of diligence required by EU persons and entities in dealing with affiliates of sanctioned persons and entities. The new measures also implemented the no-fly zone over Libyan airspace and extended the existing arms embargo.