The Council of the European Union has ‘agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the EU equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States.’ So announced the new High Representative of the EU, Josep Borrell, at a press conference following a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 9 December.
Borrell told reporters:
‘I was asked on this issue in my presentation at the Parliament last week and today we have decided, with strong consensus, to launch the preparatory work – and the European External Action Service will prepare the documentation for this – in order to prepare the equivalent of this act. This will be a tangible step reaffirming the European Union’s global lead on human rights.’
The High Representative also said that Member States had been ‘informed about – and [ had shown] broad support for – a new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy that will be prepared by my services for the next five years.’
He said, ‘This is a reference document on human rights in the world. It is a document of reference and the new one will continue to be something unique, one of its kind worldwide.’