EU restrictive measures against North Korea

The ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) represent a serious threat to international peace and security. These activities undermine the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime of which the EU has been a steadfast supporter for decades.

In this context, the EU has implemented the restrictive measures imposed through resolutions of the UN Security Council and has reinforced them through its own measures. These measures target the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programmes.

The EU first introduced restrictive measures against the DPRK in December 2006. Those measures implemented the United Nations' sanctions regime, which was adopted following the DPRK's claim that it had conducted a nuclear weapon test.

The EU also reinforced the UN's sanctions regime by adopting autonomous measures complementing and reinforcing the UN Security Council resolutions.

The timeline below provides an overview of the restrictive measures adopted by the EU against the DPRK since 2006.

2017

18 October

Council adds 4 vessels to sanctions list: transposition of UN listings (UNSC resolution 2375) 

The Council added four vessels to its sanctions list, following their designation by the UN Security Council Committee on 3 October 2017. These vessels are prohibited to enter EU ports.

16 October

New sanctions against the DPRK (EU autonomous sanctions)

The Council adopted new EU autonomous measures to further increase the pressure on the DPRK to comply with its obligations.

The measures complement and reinforce the UN Security Council sanctions. They include:

  • total ban on EU investment in the DPRK in all sectors
  • total ban on the sale of refined petroleum products and crude oil to the DPRK
  • lowering the amount of personal remittances transferred to the DPRK from € 15 000 to € 5 000

Member states agreed not to renew work authorisations for DPRK nationals present on their territory, except for refugees and other persons benefiting from international protection.

The Council also added 3 persons and 6 entities  to the lists of those subject to an asset freeze and travel restrictions. 41 persons and 10 entities are now  designated by the EU autonomously. In addition, 63 individuals and 53 entities are listed by the UN.  

10 October

Transposition of sectoral sanctions imposed by UNSC resolution 2375 (2017)

The Council further strengthened its sanctions against the DPRK by transposing the sectoral sanctions imposed by UN Security Council resolution 2375 (2017). The measures include:

  • a ban on the sale of natural gas liquids to the DPRK 
  • a ban on textile imports  from the DPRK
  • limitations on the sale of refined petroleum products and crude oil to the DPRK
  • a prohibition for EU member states to provide work authorisations to DPRK nationals

15 September

3 entities and one person added to the sanctions list: transposition of UN listings (UNSC resolution 2375)

The Council has added 3 entities and one person to the lists of those subject to an asset freeze and  travel restrictions.

This decision implements part of the new sanctions imposed by UN Security Council resolution 2375 (2017).

63 persons and 53 entities, listed by the UN, are currently subject to restrictive measures against the DPRK.

In addition, 38 persons and 4 entities are designated by the EU autonomously.

14 September

Transposition of sectoral sanctions imposed by UNSC resolution 2371 (2017)

The Council further strengthened its restrictive measures against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea by transposing the sectoral sanctions imposed by UN Security Council resolution 2371 (2017).

These measures target the DPRK's main exports, imposing a total ban on all exports of:

  • coal
  • iron
  • iron ore
  • seafood
  • lead and lead ore

Additional sanctions target the DPRK's arms smuggling, joint ventures with foreign companies, banks and its ability to generate revenue and to access the international financial system. 

The EU also strengthens some of the measures introduced by UNSCR 2371. For example, members states will not allow any more North Korean nationals to work on their territories

10 August

9 persons and 4 entities added to the sanctions list: transposition of UN listings (UNSC resolution 2371)

The Council added 9 persons and 4 entities - including the state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) - to the lists of those subject to an asset freeze and  travel restrictions.

This decision implements part of the new sanctions imposed on 5 August 2017 by the UN Security Council resolution 2371 (2017)

62 persons and 50 entities, listed by the UN, are currently subject to restrictive measures against the DPRK. In addition, 38 persons and 5 entities are designated by the EU autonomously.

8 June

Addition of 14 persons and 4 entities to the sanctions list: transposition of UN listings (UNSC resolution 2356)

The Council added 14 persons and 4 entities to the lists of those subject to an asset freeze and  travel restrictions. This decision implements the UN Security Council resolution 2356 of 2 June 2017, adopted in response to DPRK's ongoing  nuclear-weapon and ballistic missile-development activities.

53 persons and 46 entities, listed by the UN, are currently subject to restrictive measures against the DPRK. In addition, 40 persons and 6 entities are designated by the EU autonomously.  

6 April

Additional sanctions against the DPRK (EU autonomous sanctions)

The Council adopted additional restrictive measures against the DPRK. These measures include:

  • the expansion of the prohibition on investments in the DPRK to new sectors, namely the conventional arms-related industry, metallurgy and metalworking, and aerospace
  • the prohibition of the provision of certain services to persons or entities in the DPRK, namely computer and related services, services linked to mining, services linked to manufacturing in the chemical, mining and refining industry, and services in the other areas prohibited for investment from the Union
  • the addition of four persons to the list of persons targeted by the EU's restrictive measures.

These measures complement and reinforce the sanctions regime imposed by United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Currently, the EU lists 39 persons and 42 entities listed by the UN and 41 persons and 7 entities designated by the EU autonomously. 

27 February

Additional sanctions against the DPRK: transposition of UN sanctions (UNSC resolution 2321)

The Council imposed further restrictive measures against the DPRK, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2321 of 30 November 2016. The measures include:

  • restrictions on transactions in coaliron and iron ore from the DPRK
  • a ban on imports of copper, nickel, silver, zinc as well as statues from the DPRK
  • a ban on export of new helicopters and vessels to the DPRK
  • the tightening of existing restrictions in the transport sector as well as in the financial sector
  • measures to prevent specialised teaching or training of DPRK nationals in disciplines which could contribute to the country's nuclear or ballistic-missile programmes
  • measures to suspend scientific and technical cooperation, except for medical exchanges 

2016

12 December

Council conclusions on the DPRK condemn nuclear tests

The Council adopted conclusions condemning the nuclear tests and multiple ballistic missile launches conducted by the DPRK in 2016. The conclusions urge the DPRK to re-engage in a dialogue with the international community, cease its provocation, and abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities.

8 December

Addition of 11 persons and 10 entities to the sanctions list: transposition of UN listings (UNSC resolution 2321)

The Council added 11 persons and 10 entities to the list of those subject to asset freezing and to travel restrictions. This decision implements the UN Security Council resolution 2321 of 30 November 2016.

27 May

New restrictions on trade, financial services, investment and transport (EU autonomous sanctions)

The Council adopted additional restrictive measures against the DPRK on the grounds that its actions constitute a grave threat to international peace and security in the region and beyond. These measures complement and reinforce the sanctions regime imposed by UN Security Council resolutions on 2 March 2016. The additional measures include: 

  • in the trade sector: prohibition of the import of petroleum products and luxury goods from the DPRK, prohibition of the supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of additional items, materials or equipment relating to dual-use goods and technology. and a ban on any public financial support for trade with the DPRK
  • in the financial sector: prohibition of transfers of funds to and from the DPRK, unless for certain predefined purposes and authorised in advance
  • in terms of investment: prohibition of all investment by the DPRK in the EU; prohibition of investment by EU nationals or entities in the mining, refining and chemical industries sectors as well as in any entities engaged in DPRK's illegal programmes
  • in the transport sector: prohibition on any aircraft operated by DPRK carriers or originating from the DPRK from landing in, taking off or overflying EU territory; prohibition on any vessel owned, operated or crewed by the DPRK from entering EU ports

19 May

Addition of 18 persons and one entity to sanctions list (EU autonomous listings)

The Council added 18 persons and one entity to the list of those subject to EU autonomous restrictive measures against the DPRK. The decision brings the total number of persons subject to EU autonomous restrictive measures to 32 and the number of entities to 13. The total number of sanctioned persons and entities, including those listed by the UN, is 66 and 42 respectively.

31 March

Further restrictive measures adopted: transposition of new UN sanctions (UNSC resolution 2270)

The Council expanded restrictive measures against the DPRK in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2270, adopted on 2 March 2016. The measures include, among others:

  • an extension of export and import prohibitions to any item (except food or medicine) that could contribute to the development of the operational capabilities of DPRK's armed forces
  • an inspection of all cargoes to and from the DPRK and a ban on flights carrying prohibited items
  • a ban on imports of certain minerals from the DPRK and exports of aviation fuel to the DPRK
  • the expulsion of DPRK representatives and third country nationals involved in the country's illicit programmes
  • additional financial measures such as an obligation to close existing branches, subsidiaries or representative offices of DPRK banks

 The Council also updated the list of persons and entities subject to EU restrictive measures against the DPRK by adding one entity, removing another entity and updating the entries for six persons. 

4 March

Addition of 16 persons and 12 entities to the sanctions list : transposition of UN listing (UNSC resolution 2270)

The Council added 16 persons and 12 entities to the list of those subject to freezing of assets and a travel ban, transposing new listings imposed by UN Security Council resolution 2270. This resolution was adopted on 2 March 2016 in response to the DPRK's nuclear test on 6 January 2016 and its rocket launch on 7 February 2016.

2015

2 July

Addition of one entity and six persons to sanctions list (EU autonomous listings)

On 2 July 2015, the Council decided to add one entity and six persons to the list of those subject to EU autonomous freezing of assets and travel restrictions.

2014

8 October

Addition of one entity to the sanctions list transposing UN decision and de-listing of a deceased individual from the EU autonomous list

The Council added one entity to the list of those subject to asset freezing, on the basis of a determination by the UN Sanctions Committee on 28 July 2014. It also transposed some technical updates of the list of individuals and entities subject to restrictive measures that were decided by the UN Sanctions Committee on 30 July 2014.

 Furthermore, in the light of the reported death of one listed individual, that person's name was removed from the list of persons subject to EU autonomous sanctions. 

14 April

Review of the EU autonomous listings and updates of the UN sanctions list

The Council carried out a review of EU autonomous listings and concluded that there where no longer any grounds for keeping one of the designated persons on the list. Furthermore, it removed one entity from the list of entities subject to EU asset freezing because that entity had already been included in the list transposing UN designations.

 The Council also transposed some technical updates of UN listings decided by the UN Sanctions Committee on 31 December 2013.

2013

22 April

Transposition of UN Security Council resolution 2094 of 7 March 2013

The EU added 3 persons and 2 entities to the list of those subject to freezing of assets and to travel restrictions, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2094 of 7 March 2013.

The Council imposed further restrictive measures against the DPRK, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2094 (2013). These additional measures include, among others:

  • an expansion of asset freezing measures to individuals or entities acting on behalf of designated persons or assisting in the violation of sanctions
  • restrictions for EU financial institutions on establishing and maintaining correspondent banking relationships with DPRK banks
  • refusal to allow entry into ports of any vessel to or from DPRK if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel is carrying prohibited items and the vessel has refused to allow an inspection
  • refusal to allow any aircraft to take off from, land in or overfly their territory, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the aircraft is carrying prohibited items
  • enhanced vigilance over DPRK diplomatic personnel.

18 February

Transposition of UN Security Council resolution 2087 (new UN measures and designations) and additional EU autonomous measures

The Council imposed further restrictive measures against the DPRK, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2087 of 22 January 2013. These additional measures include notably:

  • an amendment of the scope of the ban on exports, imports, and purchase of certain goods and technology
  • obligation on Member States to exercise vigilance and restraint regarding the entry into or transit through their territories of individuals working on behalf or at the direction of designated individuals or entities.

The EU added 4 persons and 9 entities to the list of those subject to asset freezing and travel restrictions. This decision implemented the UN Sanctions Committee decision.

In accordance with the Council's conclusions on the DPRK of 10 December 2012, the EU also adopted the following autonomous restrictive measures:

  • a ban on export of certain goods relevant to the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction-related programmes, especially certain types of aluminium
  • a ban on trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with the government of the DPRK
  • a ban on delivery of new DPRK banknotes and coins to or for the benefit of the Central Bank of DPRK
  • restrictions on establishment of branches and subsidiaries of and cooperation with DPRK banks
  • prohibition on issuing or purchasing DPRK public or public-guaranteed bonds
  • prohibition on the opening of new branches, subsidiaries, or representative offices of DPRK banks in the EU, and on the establishment of new joint ventures or the taking of an ownership interest by the DPRK banks with banks in the EU
  • prohibition for EU financial institutions to open representatives' offices or subsidiaries in the DPRK

2011

19 December

3 persons and 12 entities added to the sanctions list (EU autonomous listings)

The EU added 3 persons and 12 entities to the list of those subject to asset freezing and travel restrictions. 

2010

22 December

New EU autonomous listings

The EU added one person and 6 entities to the list of those subject to asset freezing and travel restrictions, bringing the total number of EU autonomous designations to 14 persons and 10 entities. 

29 June

Adoption of a revised list of goods and technology banned for export and import

The Council adopted a regulation introducing a revised EU list of items, materials, equipment, goods and technology that could contribute to North Korea's nuclear-related, other weapons of mass destruction-related or ballistic missiles-related programmes, that are subject to an export and import ban in order to maintain the effectiveness of the measures. 

2009

22 December

EU export ban on dual-use goods and first EU autonomous designations

The EU adopted an export ban on all dual-use goods and technology listed in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 428/2009. The EU also autonomously designated the first 13 persons and 4 entities subject to asset freezing and to a travel ban either because of their promotion or support of DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related and other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes or because they provide financial services or transfer financial or other assets or resources that could contribute to those programmes.

4 August

Transposition by the EU of first UN designations

The EU transposed the UN Sanctions Committee's decision to list the first 5 persons and 8 entities subject to asset freezing and a travel ban. 

27 July

Adoption of additional restrictive measures against the DPRK: transposition of UN sanctions (UNSC resolution 1874) and further EU autonomous measures

The Council adopted common position 2009/573/CFSP and regulation 1283/2009 introducing additional restrictive measures against the DPRK, including notably:

  • UN prohibition to enter into new commitments for grants, financial assistance, or concessional loans to the DPRK combined with enhanced vigilance with a view to reducing current commitments
  • UN prohibition to provide financial services or any financial or other assets or resources that could contribute DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes, reinforced by an EU measure of enhanced monitoring over the activities of financial institutions with certain banks and financial entities linked to DPRK
  • UN prohibition to provide public financial support for trade with the DPRK where such financial support could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear-related or ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes or activities
  • UN obligation to inspect all cargoes to and from DPRK, in the territories of the Member States, including seaports and airports, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items whose supply, sale, transfer or export is prohibited under UNSCRs, supplemented by an EU measure of prior pre-arrival or pre-departure information requirement on all cargoes to and from the DPRK
  • UN obligation to inspect vessels on the high seas, if a Member State has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo of such vessels contains items whose supply, sale, transfer or export is prohibited under UNSCRs
  • UN obligation to seize and dispose of items whose supply, sale, transfer or export is prohibited under UNSCRs
  • UN prohibition to provide bunkering services, or other servicing of vessels, to DPRK vessels if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that they are carrying items whose supply, sale, transfer or export is prohibited under UNSCRs
  • UN obligation to exercise vigilance and prevent specialised teaching or training of DPRK nationals of disciplines which could contribute to DPRK's proliferation of sensitive nuclear activities and the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems
  • an EU ban on exports of further items which could contribute to DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes

2006

20 November

First adoption of restrictive measures against the DPRK: transposition of UN sanctions (UNSC resolution 1718)

The Council adopted common position 2006/795/CFSP and regulation 329/2007 transposing the UN sanctions regime against the DPRK, as outlined in UN Security Council resolution 1718 of 14 October 2006, as well as imposing additional EU autonomous measures. The sanctions include:

  • an arms embargo
  • freezing of assets and a travel ban on persons involved in the DPRK's nuclear programme
  • a ban on a range of imports and exports that could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes
  • export and import ban on luxury goods