Sanctions in force in Belgium


Belgium, as a member state of both the UN and the EU, has the obligation of  appropriately implementing the sanction regimes.

Besides, European regulations are directly applicable in Belgium. This does not mean however, that Belgium is a passive spectator; it shapes the existing sanction regulations at the European level and is responsible for their implementation.

If both a UN and an EU sanction regime are in force, the EU regime should be followed (which implements the UN sanctions and can never be less strict).

Belgium has always believed that sanctions can be a useful instrument. Our country's sanctions policy is based on the following principles:

Belgium promotes so-called "smart" sanctions: to achieve the objectives pursued, sanctions must reach the right people and the right products. Moreover, exceptions for humanitarian aid, medicines and food products must be provided for. Belgium is consequently not advocating comprehensive sanctions, such as sanctions in the financial sector, which often affect all commercial trade without distinction. Exceptionally, however, such sanctions may be necessary when more targeted sanctions appear insufficient.

Belgium attaches great importance to coordination with non-EU countries. Such coordination contributes to increased efficiency of the sanctions since their impact is greater if more countries apply them. Such coordination also makes it possible to prevent EU companies from being immediately replaced by businesses from non-EU countries.

Sanctions must be clear and applicable by all authorities, companies and individuals. It is very important that the individuals and entities targeted by sanctions are clearly identified and that the reasons leading to their inclusion on the sanctions list are clear and well-motivated. Easy implementation also leads to greater flexibility when responding to possible developments on the ground.

For Belgium, it is crucial that the objectives pursued are clearly established at the time of the adoption of a sanctions regime. What kind of change in behaviour is expected from the sanctioned country? On the other hand, an exit strategy ensures more clarity and predictability. It is therefore important to establish a number of criteria which will serve as benchmarks for the adaptation or removal of the sanctions regime.

For more information:

If you cannot find an answer to your questions via the contact addresses above, you can send an e-mail to (only for technical issues concerning the concrete application of sanctions regimes in Belgium).