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Restrictive measures

Restrictive measures or ‘sanctions’ are a non-punitive, multilateral, political and diplomatic instrument that seeks to bring about changes to conducts or policies, such as violations of International Law or human rights, policies that do not follow the rule of law or democratic principles, and may target governments of non-EU countries, non-governmental entities (groups or organisations), natural or legal persons.

Sanctions are temporary restrictions on the exercise of a given right, by imposing a prohibition or an obligation, approved by the United Nations or by the European Union and aim to achieve one of the following objectives:

  • Maintaining or restoring international peace and security;
  • Protecting human rights;
  • Democracy and the rule of law;
  • Safeguarding national sovereignty and independence and other fundamental interests of the State;
  • Preventing and constraining terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The European Union adopts restrictive measures of its own accord or to enforce binding resolutions of the UN Security Council. The European Union must observe the terms of UN Security Council Resolutions, but may also decide to adopt more restrictive measures.

The Directorate-General for Foreign Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office for Economic Policy and International Affairs of the Ministry of Finance were jointly appointed as the competent national authorities for restrictive measures.

Law No 97/2017 of 23 August 2017 governs the application and execution of the restrictive measures approved by the United Nations or by the European Union and sets forth the sanctions applicable to breaches of such measures.


Freezing of funds and economic resources 

Among the applicable restrictive measures, stress is given to the freezing of funds and economic resources.

Freezing of funds means preventing any move, transfer, alteration, use of, access to, or dealing with funds in any way that would result in any change in their amount, volume, location, ownership, possession, character, destination or any other change that would enable the funds to be used, including portfolio management.

Freezing of economic resources means preventing any move, transfer, sale or encumbrance of assets of every kind, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, which are not funds, but may be used to obtain funds, goods or services in any way, including, but not limited to, by selling, hiring or mortgaging them.

Under ‘Related information’ you can find more information on restrictive measures, including the consolidated lists of persons, groups or entities subject to financial sanctions, obtained from the UN, European Union and Portuguese Government websites.