Parliamentary committees criticise lack of debate on EU Russia sanctions

January 13, 2015

Posted on December 23, 2014 by Maya Lester on

The United Kingdom's House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has criticised the lack of debate in Parliament on the EU's sanctions on Russia.

In a summary of its meeting published on 19 December 2014, the Committee stated: "This week we consider two new sets of EU restrictive measures in relation to Ukraine and Russia. Although we clear them from scrutiny, we tag the relevant chapters of our Report to the debate that we have previously recommended on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Last month the Minister asked us to rescind that recommendation as a Backbench Business debate had been scheduled on the floor of the House. We declined to do so. The Minister now tells us that a debate in European Committee is the most appropriate option, and that he has asked his officials to arrange this. We do not agree: we recommend a debate on the floor of the House after serious consideration and with good reason, and it is not for the Minister to contradict the Committee's view and unilaterally determine the appropriate forum for the debate."

The House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on External Affairs, which is currently conducting an inquiry into the relationship between the EU and Russia (including hearing evidence from the Europe Minister and from the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs), including as regards sanctions policy, has made similar comments in the past about the need to debate restrictive measures on the floor of the House.

End notes

This article first appeared on European Sanctions Law & Practice (, a blog by Maya Lester (+44 20 7379 3550,, a barrister at Brick Court Chambers, and Michael O'Kane (+44 (0) 20 7822 7777, head of Business Crime at Peters & Peters.