Regarding the EU sanctions list back in the news again: it will be news again on Monday when the ministers decide in Council. Why? Comitology.

Comitology is how the EU manages to make policy with 27 member states. Things have changed since the greater role of the European Parliament in recent years, but it is still relevant, especially for areas where Brussels does not have the exclusive 'competence', as in foreign affairs.

Comitology means that the first draft of a new policy is drawn up by officials, who leave the sensitive bits for their superiors to decide. Superiors decide what they can, approve and send it upstairs. This chain continues until it reaches the member states' ambassadors (COREPER), who decide what they can, sign off, and send the remaining political puzzles to be decided by their bosses, the issue-area ministers who meet in the Council of the EU (Council). They finally sign off on the final version of the policy.

The sanctions list that includes four Chinese officials has been working its way up through the system for a bit already. You read in the news a while ago that the experts had signed off on it, apparently the ambassadors agreed yesterday, and now it's a matter of a final agreement by Council.

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I don't suppose Blinken will refer to Xinjiang as East Turkestan. Still, the thought provides some sweetness and light.

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