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Foreign Ministry publishes open online course on sanctions

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Publication date 1.12.2023 8.33
Press release

Effective implementation of sanctions requires an understanding of sanctions and their application. In order to expand Finns’ knowledge of sanctions, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has published an online course on sanctions open to all. The course covers not only the basic aspects of sanctions that are repeated across all sanctions systems, but also the special features of the sanctions against Russia.

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“The EU sanctions against Russia are unprecedentedly extensive, which poses challenges for many operators in the practical implementation of the sanctions. In terms of the effectiveness of sanctions, it is of paramount importance that both companies and authorities know how to apply them. I hope that the introductory course on sanctions helps operators to apply sanctions correctly,” says Elina Valtonen, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The course goes over the basics of sanctions and how to comply with them. Many fundamentals, such as the concepts of funds and economic resources, the freezing of funds, and the principles of export and import bans, are repeated in different sanction regimes. The course highlights sanctions regulations, especially those related to the extensive sanctions against Russia, through examples. It includes a specific section on identifying the circumvention of sanctions and practical instructions for due diligence by companies and authorities.

Anyone can complete the introductory course on sanctions in Finnish online on the eOppiva learning platform. It is possible to obtain a certificate of completion of the course. Registration is required to obtain a certificate. The course takes a few hours to complete.

The ‘Pakotteiden peruskurssi’ (‘Introduction to Sanctions’) project was led by the HAUS Finnish Institute of Public Management, commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The contents of the course were drawn up with contributions from sanctions specialists from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other authorities, as well as representatives of trade, industry and business. As far as is known, the course is the first public online training on sanctions offered in an EU Member State.

“The introductory course on sanctions will hopefully increase the knowledge of sanctions in different organisations. It is also worth remembering that the Sanctions Team of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs can provide advice on the interpretation of sanctions and guidance on issues related to the implementation or circumvention of sanctions,” says Pia Sarivaara, Team Leader of the Foreign Ministry Sanctions Team.

“However, the main responsibility for compliance with sanctions and decision-making in sanctions matters always lies with the organisation itself.”

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is the national competent authority responsible for the implementation of EU sanctions. In addition, several other authorities are involved in the implementation of sanctions in accordance with their respective competences. Applications for derogations, specified in sanctions regulations, are primarily handled by the Unit for Public International Law of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The best way to reach the Sanctions Team of the Unit for Public International Law of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is by email at


  • Pia Sarivaara, Counsellor, Sanctions Team, Unit for Public International Law, tel. +358 295 350 660
  • Introduction to Sanctions (in Finnish)
  • Email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the form firstname.lastname(at)