Why does EU need its own Magnitsky Act?
EU countries have begun talks on which names to hit first with new-model human rights sanctions. The confidential talks come amid preparations to launch the measures next week.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has been calling the measures a "European Magnitsky Act" since September.
The European parliament has repeatedly called for the EU to adopt legislation similar to that enacted in the U.S. to allow the bloc to target individuals irrespective of their nationality.
The eight members of the Nordic Council - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland - had said they would adopt their own act if the EU failed to agree.
The Dutch government initiated a discussion on the EU developing its own version of the US Magnitsky Act last November following a resolution from its parliament in The Hague.
The Magnitsky Act was signed by then-U.S. President Barack Obama in 2012 to freeze assets and impose travel bans on Russian individuals involved in human rights abuses. In December 2016, Congress voted to expand it into the Global Magnitsky Act in other parts of the world.
Canada, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia already have such legislation.