News 14 November 2019

EU draws up framework to punish Turkey for ‘illegal’ drilling in Eastern Med

Decision seeks to reaffirm EU Council respect of ‘sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law’ of Cyprus.

The Council of the European Union has, on 11 November, ‘adopted a framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey’s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean – which will make it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean,’ it has said.

The regime will empower the EU, it says, to impose sanctions on:

persons or entities responsible for drilling activities related to hydrocarbon exploration and production not authorised by Cyprus within its territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (‘EEZ’) or continental shelf. Such drilling activities include, where the EEZ or continental shelf has not been delimited in accordance with international law, activities which may jeopardise or hamper the reaching of such a delimitation agreement;
persons or entities providing financial, technical or material support for the abovementioned drilling activities;
persons or entities associated with them.

It described the decision as ‘a direct follow-up to the Council conclusions of 14 October 2019, which were endorsed by the European Council on 17-18 October 2019, when the EU reaffirmed its full solidarity with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law and invited the Commission and the European External Action Service to submit proposals for a framework for restrictive measures.’

It has yet to indicate which specific persons or entities might be subject to the sanctions.