The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has published its 37th Report, in which it considers in detail EU sanctions relating to Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ukraine, Russia, Syria and Iran (see previous blogs here and here).
The committee is very critical of the processes followed in relation to the re-listings of a number of people and entities whose listings have previously been annulled by the EU General Court for lack of evidence (in particular the National Iranian Tanker Company and Mr Golparvar on the EU’s Iran sanctions, and 7 people and 6 companies on its Syria sanctions).
The report particularly criticises the UK’s override of parliamentary scrutiny, and the lack of documentary evidence provided to the committee in the scrutiny process in relation to a number of EU sanctions regimes. The Committee criticises “the continuing failure of the European External Action Service” to circulate draft Council Decisions and Regulations in time for them to be reviewed in advance of their approval. It has asked the Minister to report on progress by the EEAS on this issue after 6 months.
While the Committee acknowledged the importance of overriding scrutiny in the case of “genuine operational requirements”, eg the rapidly developing situation in Ukraine, it criticises the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for failing to brief the Committee on new sanctions measures in a timely fashion eg in the case of sanctions against Zimbabwe there were no pressing operational requirements to justify the override of scrutiny. It describes the Government’s engagement with Parliament in relation to the Iran re-listings as being characterised by “mistakes, omissions, and unsatisfactory responses”.