Thursday

17th Jan 2019

Multi-billion losses expected from Russia sanctions

  • The jury is still out on the economic impact of Russia sanctions on Europe (Photo: guysie)

EU diplomats on Monday (28 July) are to pour over the legal texts drafted by the EU commission for imposing sectoral economic sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukrainian conflict. The sanctions are expected to be approved on Tuesday.

According to an EU source familiar with the legal texts, the economic effect of the sanctions will hurt the Russian economy by €23 billion this year (1.5% of its GDP) and €75 billion in 2015 (4.8% of its GDP).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The Economist meanwhile has calculated that the pain Russian firms will suffer from these sanctions could go up to one trillion US dollars (€744bn).

But the EU will also be hurt by the capital markets restrictions and trade bans for defence, high technology and goods that can be used both for military and defence purposes.

The EU commission expects the EU to lose €40 billion (0.3% of GDP) this year and €50bn in 2015 - the equivalent of 0.4 percent of the EU GDP - as Russia is expected to retaliate with trade bans of its own against EU countries, the source said.

This has already caused concern in southern member states - notably Russia-friendly Italy - where economic growth is meagre and recession may kick in again due to the Russian sanctions regime.

At a meeting of EU ambassadors last week, the southern countries called on the EU commission to take into account the sanctions fallout when it evaluates how they stick to deficit and debt rules.

Germany, who so far was reluctant to endorse wide-ranging economic sanctions, is bracing itself for the fallout, too.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Sueddeutsche Zeitung over the weekend that "after the death of 300 innocent people" and the "undignified actions" of pro-Russian rebels believed responsible for shooting down the MH17 plane, Russia "gave no other option" than to impose economic sanctions.

He told another paper, Wirtschaftswoche, that the German economy will suffer only to a limited degree from these sanctions.

But the Committee on eastern European Economic Relations, a German business lobby representing firms active in Russia, has estimated that the sanctions would threaten 350,000 German jobs that depend directly on German-Russian trade, which totals €80bn a year.

The head of this committee, Eckard Cordes, last week however endorsed the stepping up of sanctions, even if it will hurt the German economy.

For its part, Russia has given no signs of wanting to change course over the threat of broader economic sanctions.

"The current sanctions will not have a macroeconomic effect, it is a problem for specific companies," said senior Kremlin advisor Andrei Belousov, quoted by Russian newswires.

The Russian economy expanded by 1.3 percent last year, with the Washington-based International Monetary Fund projecting a much lower 0.3 percent growth this year due to the sanctions.

But Wolfgang Munchau, a German columnist for the Financial Times, warned of the near-impossibility to accurately predict the fallout of economic sanctions.

"Forecasters have a hard time putting shocks – including sanctions – that are hard to measure into their models. We know the large-scale economic forecasting models used by international institutions perform badly during and after financial crises. In a situation like this, they are hopeless," he wrote.

"The correct answer on the question of Russian growth is not “0.2 per cent” or some other number. It is “Don’t know”," Munchau added.

Another thing to consider is Russian resilience to economic hardships.

Philipp Missfelder, an expert on foreign relations from Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said sanctions are no ultimate solution.

"Sanctions cannot replace a political solution. Russia has the potential to endure them for a long time and to tighten its belt. We should therefore not believe that sanctions are a panacea," Missfelder told Deutsche Welle.

EU to hit Russia with economic sanctions next week

The EU is set to impose economic sanctions on Russia next week. Meanwhile, southern member states want the European Commission to consider any blowback effect when it assesses national deficits.

Obama, EU leaders agree on Russia sanctions

The leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the US held a conference call on Monday and agreed to impose economic sanctions on Russia as it continues to support the war in eastern Ukraine.

Russia in sanction threat against EU

Russia may restrict or impose a ban on Asian-bound European airlines from flying over its Siberian territory as part of a retaliatory move against western-imposed sanctions.

News in Brief

  1. Another referendum 'would take a year', Downing St says
  2. 82-year old Berlusconi to run in EU elections
  3. EU parliament votes to triple funds for democracy promotion
  4. EU parliament backs linking budget payments to rule of law
  5. Verhofstadt voted for Draghi amendment 'by mistake'
  6. 'Plan B' Brexit vote in UK parliament set for 29 January
  7. Verhofstadt wanted Draghi out of G30 group
  8. Putin heads to Serbia amid warnings against West

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  2. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  3. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  4. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  5. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party
  6. On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?
  7. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  8. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  2. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  3. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  5. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  6. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  8. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us