Sunday

17th Jun 2018

Dutch MPs follow Danes in debate on Russia sanctions

  • The Dutch parliament in The Hague: the government invited to give response in three months (Photo: Pieter Musterd)

Dutch MPs are to debate imposing asset freezes and visa bans on Kremlin cronies in response to the UK attack, building on similar moves in Nordic and Baltic states.

Pieter Omtzigt, an MP from the centre-right CDA party in the ruling coalition in The Hague, set the ball rolling this week by asking the government to consider imposing a Magnitsky Act at national level and to push for similar measures by the EU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

  • Sergei Magnitsky: Stolen funds linked to activist's death ended up in pockets of Putin's friends (Photo: Hermitage Capital)

Magnitsky Acts are a form of sanctions named after a Russian activist, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison after exposing a corruption scheme involving the inner circle of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

They are disliked by the Kremlin because they mandate Western governments to freeze the funds of Russian individuals on human rights grounds, putting pressure on the ruling elite.

"We call on the government to take steps toward adopting a Magnitsky Act in both the Dutch and European contexts. We ask that the government inform the house [Dutch MPs] within three months regarding the steps they are taking in regards to this matter," Omtzigt said in a motion filed this week after the UK incident.

The move came after the ruling party in Denmark called for a hearing on a Danish Magnitsky Act also in the wake of the UK attack.

About 40 percent of MPs in Sweden support Swedish Magnitsky sanctions.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as Canada and the US, already have Magnitsky sanctions in place.

They all passed the laws prior to Russia's attempt to kill a former spy in the UK using a chemical weapon earlier this month, but the UK attack spurred Estonia, on Thursday (29 March), to enforce the law by imposing a visa ban on 49 Russians linked to Magnitsky's death.

"We cannot leave gross violations of human rights unanswered," Estonian foreign minister Sven Mikser said.

"We must all respond to incidents undermining the rule-based world order, thus contributing to our own security as well," he added, in a nod to the UK attack.

The UK itself, as well as Jersey, a UK protectorate and an offshore banking centre that hosts Russian assets, are also planning to move ahead with Magnitsky bills.

"It's huge if the offshore centres do a Magnitsky Act because that's where the bad guys keep big money," Bill Browder, Magnitsky's former employer, told EUobserver.

Browder, a British national who used to run a hedge fund in Russia before becoming a human rights campaigner, had fought for EU-level sanctions for the past eight years before the UK incident.

He said it was "absurd" he had had to go country by country in the 28 EU states to get things moving, while blaming EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini for having personally quashed calls for an EU-level response.

Agenda

Dutch debate on EU agenda This WEEK

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte will debate the future of the EU with MEPs and with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasburg on Wednesday.

Opinion

Europe could lose out in North Korean bonanza

South Korean businesses including Hyundai and Samsung are already scoping investment opportunities. Will North Korea become a 'new Vietnam' opportunity - or more like Myanmar, where slow Brussels policy-making meant EU exporters lost out.

News in Brief

  1. Schroeder and Sarkozy appear with Putin at World Cup
  2. Tennis champ and 'EU diplomat' claims immunity
  3. Italy threatens to ditch EU-Canada free trade deal
  4. EU institutions agree EU-wide rights for asylum seekers
  5. EU free wifi portal hit by 'technical issue'
  6. EU ambassadors approve plan to fight antimicrobial resistance
  7. Leak: World will fail on Paris climate goal by 2040
  8. Greek PM to face confidence vote over Macedonia deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  7. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  8. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  11. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model

Latest News

  1. Progressive regulation needed now for 21st century finance
  2. Greece and Merkel's fate top This WEEK
  3. How Italy's government might hijack EU migration policy
  4. The EU cannot shape the future of AI with regulation
  5. Long-distance animal transport: unthinkable still happening
  6. EU to phase out most harmful biofuels
  7. Bavaria rebels could unseat Merkel over migration
  8. European People's Party faces moment of truth over Hungary

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us