Tuesday

9th Aug 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

EU states expel over 30 Russian diplomats

France, Germany, Poland, and the US have led the largest-ever expulsion of Russian spies and diplomats in reaction to the UK chemical attack.

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

Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter

Dr Ming-Yen Tsai, head of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, responds to EUobserver op-ed on Taiwan by the Chinese ambassador to Belgium. "Taiwan is an 'island of resilience'. That will continue to be the case."

Opinion

Supporting Taiwan 'like carrying water in a sieve'

China's ambassador to Belgium, Cao Zhongming, says the US has been distorting, obscuring and hollowing out the 'one-China' principle and unscrupulously undermining China's core interests. This is sheer double standards and a shameful act of bad faith.

News in Brief

  1. Rhine river on the brink of closure for shipping
  2. Moldova sees 'prelude to war' with Russia-backed forces
  3. Taliban preventing Afghan evacuations to Germany
  4. Amnesty regrets 'distress' caused by Ukraine report
  5. Energy companies warn UK gas exports to EU are contaminated
  6. EU set for clash over rules on political adverts
  7. Three grain ships due to leave Ukraine on Friday
  8. EU on track to reach gas-storage November target

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Italy poised to elect far-right rulers
  2. UN chief demands access to nuclear plant after new attack
  3. Greek PM embroiled in spyware scandal
  4. How Ukraine made the case anew for an EU army
  5. 'We must take back institutions', Orban tells US conservatives
  6. Putin must lose Ukraine war, Nato chief says
  7. Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter
  8. Droughts prompt calls to cut water use amid harvest fears

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us