(Bloomberg) -- The European Union is planning to launch a project with nine member states to identify gaps in the sanctions regime against Russia and to improve coordination between national authorities when enforcing penalties, EU officials said.

The partnership between the European Commission and the national governments, which are currently responsible for the implementation of sanctions, could be a precursor to a new EU body to coordinate sanctions oversight, added the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

The Netherlands, supported by several other member states, has called for an EU-level mechanism to ensure that governments and companies are not evading the bloc’s 10 rounds of sanctions against Moscow.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last Thursday that the next package to hit the Russian economy would mainly deal with the circumvention of sanctions and “how we can go against it.”

EU officials said that the new project, which will run for two years starting around June, would be the first time that the bloc’s executive arm is supporting member states on sanction enforcement with specific resources at this scale. The group will map the authorities in charge of asset freezes, exchange good practices and improve their implementation. The commission will provide expertise from its financial services team and will cover the costs of additional support from the Council of Europe, a non-EU institution.

The countries participating in the initiative are the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.

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The project is part of the Technical Support Instrument launched by the commission to back member states in implementing key reforms and policy initiatives across various fields. It builds on a smaller initiative with three member states and proposed by the Czech Republic during its rotating EU presidency last year that focused on identification of the effective ownership of a company and the monitoring of cryptocurrencies, both of which are seen as potential instruments to circumvent sanctions.

“To strengthen solidarity with Ukraine and be more effective in the use of our toolbox, the TSI will support member states in implementing sanctions against Russia,” the commission said in a statement last week.

Officials explained that a larger group of member states showed interested in the new initiative, although only the nine participating national governments decided to actively engage, and the results would feed into ongoing work against the circumvention of EU sanctions as a whole.

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