Amendment of the EU regulation on sanctions enables an exceptional permit for transports between museums
Last night, the European Union amended its regulation on sanctions against Russia that originally entered into force on 16 March 2022 as regards the paragraph on works of art. The amendment makes it possible to grant an exceptional permit for transports between museums. The amendment will be published later in the Official Journal of the European Union, and is meant to enter into force this coming night.
The European Union has imposed extensive sanctions against Russia due to the attack on Ukraine. As the implementing authority, Finnish Customs’ tasks include enforcing the sanctions on goods agreed at EU level. On 1 and 2 April 2022, Finnish Customs in Vaalimaa detained three consignments containing works of art destined for Russia. Works of art arriving from Italy and Japan en route to Russia via Finland were transported in trucks.
Last night, the EU approved an amendment to its regulation on sanctions (2022/428) that originally entered into force on 16 March 2022. The amendment will be published later in the Official Journal of the European Union. The amendment enables transfers of works of art subject to sanctions between museums with an exceptional permit granted by a competent authority, which in this case means the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs can grant a permit accordant with the new regulation for transports of the works of art that were detained in Vaalimaa on 1 and 2 April 2022. After an exceptional permit is granted, Finnish Customs will immediately re-assess the situation in terms of the change. If it is no longer necessary to seize the works of art as evidence for preliminary investigation, Customs will cancel the seizures of the goods, and releasing the works of art would therefore be possible due to the cancellation.
“It is a good thing that the regulation on sanctions has been amended to better serve its purpose. Customs is entrusted with supervising all cross-border goods traffic and the related sanctions. Our activity is always based on valid legislation. This is how we proceeded last weekend when we intercepted the consignments containing works of art, and will continue to do so in the future so that the enforcement of sanctions agreed at EU level remains effective”, says Mr Sami Rakshit, Director of the Enforcement Department of Finnish Customs.
Customs will release more information on the matter once the regulation takes effect and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs grants an exceptional permit for the seized consignments.
News release in Finnish by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on export sanctions (8 April 2022): Ministry for Foreign Affairs grants authorisation for returning works of art owned by museums to Russia