The representative of the European Commission, after the publication of the agency’s clarifications regarding the impossibility of importing certain goods from Russia into the EU, said that the customs authorities of the EU countries should be guided by “common sense”, in particular, in relation to personal belongings of Russian citizens entering the EU.
European Commission spokesman Daniel Ferry said in response to a question from a Deutsche Welle correspondent that the authorities of the EU countries, which are in charge of the actions of the customs authorities, are obliged to take into account the circumstances when deciding to confiscate items subject to the import ban from Russian citizens. In particular, a person crossing the border in clothes subject to restrictions “is unlikely to intend to circumvent the sanctions” and, accordingly, he will not be asked at customs to undress and give the clothes to customs officers. Whether this exception applies, for example, to cosmetics, mobile phones or laptops, the import of which into the EU is also prohibited, the representative of the European Commission did not directly say.
At the same time, Ferry confirmed that entry into the EU countries on cars registered in Russia can be regarded as a prohibited import. It was about cars that was directly stated in the clarification of the European Commission of September 8. According to Ferry, the situation with personal belongings of Russians is different from the situation with an “expensive car”, and this “is taken into account when applying sanctions by EU member states.” He did not specify whether cheap cars would be confiscated at the border.
Back in July, Radio Liberty reported on cases of arrest of cars with Russian numbers at customs in Germany and that, theoretically, other goods imported by Russians could be confiscated at customs, including cosmetics, suitcases, laptops and mobile phones, toilet paper, shampoos, toothpastes and so on. At the same time, unlike cars, cases of arrest or confiscation of personal belongings of Russians at the customs of the EU countries were not reported.
The European Commission’s clarifications have provoked a strong reaction in the pro-Kremlin Russian media, which accuse the EU of racism. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrote that Russians in the EU are treated like “balls” (a dog turned into a man from the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov – RS), and suggested that Russian diplomats be recalled from the European Union.
Following the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU imposed 11 packages of sanctions against Russia. The European Union emphasizes that the main purpose of the sanctions is to limit the ability of the Russian authorities to receive income and finance the war. Ferry also referred to this in his comment regarding “common sense”.