EU Sanctions Policy Vis-à-Vis Russia

A Case of Normative Power?


  • Arun Mahato


EU Sanctions Policy, EU Foreign Policy, Russia-Ukraine War, Interdisciplinary Analysis, Normative Power Europe (NPE)


This research piece investigates the role of norms in European Union (EU) sanctions policy towards Russia in the context of the Russia Ukraine War. It aims to answer the research question of the extent to which the EU’s foreign policy in this particular case can be interpreted as having normative power. As an analytical lens, the Normative Power Europe (NPE) framework is used. In order to tackle the question, this study deploys an interdisciplinary approach drawing from EU law and social sciences. It combines EU legislation and case law of the European Court of Justice on the one hand, with a qualitative content analysis of official EU press releases on the other. The first part of the analysis focuses on the doctrinal legal analysis of the relevant EU law in order to account for the normative-legal basis and legitimacy of EU autonomous sanctions. The second part investigates if the EU in this particular case is guided by international norms (milieu goals) or economic interests (possession goals) and which foreign policy instruments it uses to pursue its objectives. The study finds that the EU is committed to its normative identity.


Arun Mahato

Arun Ralph Mahato obtained his MA from the Institute for European Global Studies in 2022. During his academic career, he studied at the University of Basel and the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne with an emphasis on EU politics. Today, he works as a scientific consultant in the field of economic research and strategy consulting in Berlin.