From Engagement to Pressure: The EU Gets Tougher on North Korean Sanctions

In: 38 North

On July 30, the European Union (EU) imposed its first-ever sanctions against cyber attacks. North Korea, along with China and Russia, was one of the countries targeted. The EU’s autonomous sanctions related to North Korea’s nuclear and WMD programs were extended for an extra year on the same day. North Korea is also due to be slapped with sanctions for its human rights violations as soon as the EU approves its own version of a “Magnitsky Act.” With the EU-DPRK dialogue frozen since 2015 and EU aid to North Korea almost grinding to a halt, it seems clear that Brussels now sees sanctions as its tool of choice to deal with Pyongyang. The EU is under no illusions that sanctions alone will change North Korean behavior. But Brussels hopes they can help bring Pyongyang to the negotiation table and steer it away from its nuclear program and other unwanted actions.