Estonia on Friday launched the EU Sanctions Map, a web environment where anyone interested can receive up-to-date information regarding sanctions being implemented in the EU.
The EU is employing sanctions more and more in its joint foreign and security policy, with around 40 sanction regimes currently implemented that were et by the UN Security Council or the Council of the European Union. The aim of the Sanctions Map is to share up-to-date information digitally, simply and in a user-friendly fashion regarding sanctions implemented in the EU, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The Sanctions Map is to solve problems concerning accessing information, bring foreign policy closer to the citizens and help make EU sanctions policies more transparent and comprehensible to the public.
"Until now, it wasn't possible to find answers in a quick and easy way about sanctions in force in the EU, even though the information is on the internet," said ministry official Juuli Hiio, the initiator and manager of the project. "The problem lies in the means of presentation — the information is scattered over hundreds of legal texts, references and links, and retrieving the latest version requires specialized knowledge."
According to Hiio, companies tend to err on the side of caution and refrain from transactions with third countries even if they are not violations of sanctions. This was not an intended consequence, however, when member states agreed to impose sanctions.
As the name suggests, sanctions applied by the EU are shown on a world map. "Users can find the information they need either on the map or on the list of restrictions," the ministry official explained. "Users can also access the guidelines issued for the implementation of the sanctions and other relevant documents."
Sanctions map Estonia's gift to the EU
The EU Sanctions Map is the digital contribution of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU to bringing more clarity to a foreign policy instrument the EU is employing more frequently.
"Sanctions are a part of the EU's common foreign and security policy, which means that they are regulated in all member states in largely the same way," Hiio said. "It would not be reasonable to spend time and resources in Tallinn and, say, Lisbon simultaneously on shedding light on the complicated framework and answering the same types of questions on a daily basis if the answers are actually just a few clicks away."
At the conclusion of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU at the end of this year, Estonia will hand over the administration of the EU Sanctions Map to the European Commission.
Editor: Aili Vahtla