‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place?’: The European Union’s Financial Sanctions against Suspected Terrorists, Multilateralism and Human Rights

Sarah Leonard, Christian Kaunert

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article focuses on the financial sanctions adopted by the European Union (EU) against individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. This sanctions regime has been sharply criticised for its negative impact on human rights and has seen several judicial challenges before the European Courts. In contrast with most of the existing literature, which focuses on legal issues or
    examines the consequences of the EU financial sanctions, this article takes a step back to examine the reasons for which the EU decided to adopt these controversial financial sanctions in the first place. This article argues that it is mainly its commitment to ‘UN-centred effective multilateralism’that has led the EU to adopt these financial sanctions measures in order to align itself with the UN
    financial sanctions regime. However, the Kadi landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has challenged the pre-eminence of multilateralism over other considerations, such as the respect for human rights. As the Court of Justice prepares to hand down its second judgment in this case, the EU is left torn between its commitment to multilateralism and its commitment to human rights, which can be fully reconciled only if the UN sanctions regime meets the EU’s human rights standards.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)473-494
    Number of pages22
    JournalCooperation and Conflict
    Volume47
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

    Keywords

    • Counter-terrorism
    • European foreign policy
    • European Union
    • Financial sanctions
    • Kadi
    • Multilateralism
    • United Nations

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