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The Challenges of Extraterritorial Sanctions in a Turbulent World


Sanctions are one of the most adopted foreign policy tools in international relations. Sanctions have become targeted, but international organizations and states have substantially expanded the list of reasons that would justify the recourse to sanctions: from terrorism to human rights, from territorial integrity to the measures against transnational organized crimes. In this context, there appear to be a growing trend towards unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions that is likely to accelerate sharply in the coming decades.

Currently, the extraterritorial application of US unilateral sanctions affects directly the operation of European firms and companies by reducing, sometimes completing ceasing, any trade with certain countries. The so-called ‘overcompliance’ does not only have serious humanitarian consequences, but it also undermines the whole ratio of targeted sanctions, namely the one to affect only the main responsible for wrongdoings.

The extraterritoriality of US sanctions also threatens transatlantic relations, the EU’s capacity to regulate its private sector and the advance of European strategic autonomy.

The meeting was organized by IAI in the framework of its partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo to discuss the evolution and trends in sanctions, their effectiveness, humanitarian impact and the implication for business.