Economic and Financial Sanctions


On Wednesday 22nd May, the European Leadership Network (ELN) and Salamanca Group co-hosted the latest breakfast briefing part of the Strategic Insight series on “Economic and financial sanctions”.

The discussion was chaired and introduced by Tim Wilsey, International Advisor to RBS, before handing over to the key speakers, Tom Keatinge, Director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Hermenegildo Altozano, Partner at Bird & Bird.

Tom Wilsey outlined why the trend of increasing U.S economic sanctions are of concern to the private sector. One problem identified was the method of drafting sanctions, with little to no input from private bodies with regional or sector expertise. To move forward it was suggested there should be concerted effort to find ways for the private sector to provide input.

Hermenegildo Altozano characterised economic and financial sanctions as a means of achieving political goals. Using the recent activation of Helms Burton Article III, as an unfolding example of the U.S increasing Cuba’s economic deprivation with the aim of provoking political change.

It was highlighted that the EU has options to effectively protect its citizens and institutions against U.S economic sanctions resulting from Helms Burton. These include implementing mirrored sanctions against the U.S. using International Law or requesting insurance coverage against potential lawsuits.

Questions about the short-term rationale of financial sanctions were raised with considerations that global economic growth is coming from foreign, not domestic markets.

Speakers and guests concluded by recognising the prevalence and complexity of economic sanctions is likely to increase. It is expected that new regions of economic power will begin to impose their own financial sanctions in order to achieve national and regional goals.

The next strategic Insight breakfast will be held in the summer. If you are interested in attending, please contact