Sunday

22nd Apr 2018

Pressure mounts for EU sanctions on Ukraine

A consensus is emerging among member states to impose targeted sanctions on Ukraine following violent clashes in Kiev, which left over two dozen people dead.

“Member states are moving towards the decision that we should take these steps,” an EU official close to the issue told this website on Wednesday (19 February).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Merkel and Hollande in Paris: The sanctions could enter into force as early as Friday (Photo: elysee.fr)

Ministers in Brussels are thrashing out possible scenarios, with a political agreement set to be announced following a foreign affairs council tomorrow.

“They are not discussing names at this point because there is no list of names to discuss, they are still under preparation,” said the EU official.

Aside from travel bans and asset freezes, an export ban on items that could be used for repression from the EU to Ukraine could also be imposed.

“It is very likely there will also be an export ban on equipment that be used for internal repression,” said the contact.

EU-targeted sanctions require unanimity among member states and enter into law once they are published in the bloc’s Official Journal.

A EU foreign affairs spokesperson told reporters in Brussels all the decisions can be taken rapidly, but stopped short of giving a firm deadline.

She noted that in principle sanctions could be decided on Thursday and then published on Friday.

Meanwhile, France and Poland have joined Germany’s call to go ahead.

At a Franco-German summit in Paris, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that sanctions alone are not enough and said a political dialogue needs to be launched to restore peace.

“Due to the new nature of the situation, the sanctions are important, but it is not a means to end and will not resolve the problems by itself,” she said.

French President Francois Hollande also said the EU has to act.

The priority, he said, is to end violence and then up dialogue in Ukraine along with “all the countries concerned by the Ukrainian question.”

“We cannot remain passive at what is happening in Ukraine,” said the French president.

Polish Prime minister Donald Tusk said: “I will today hold talks with the leaders of the biggest EU countries and European institutions, and persuade them to impose sanctions - personal and financial”.

For his part, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt noted President Yanukovych had “blood on his hands.”

Yanukovych in a statement said the protestors crossed the line when they asked people to take up arms against the police.

Some 600 people have been injured in the clashes, around half of them police officers. Twenty-six are confirmed dead, including a Russian journalist who was pulled from his car by masked men and shot in the chest.

EU institutions have all issued statements calling for member states to impose the targets on individuals who perpetrated the violence.

European Commission president Jose Barroso said the EU would respond to any deterioration on the ground. “We therefore expect that targeted measures against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force,” he said.

Barroso told Yanukovych in a phone call on Wednesday to end the violence.

EU chief Herman Van Rompuy and European Parliament president Martin Schulz have also called for punitive measures.

“The Ukrainian authorities are about to lose all legitimacy,” said Schulz.

He said Ukraine needs to make space for a transitional government and call early elections.

The European Commission, for its part, said “all possible actions will be explored” but would not name Yanukovych, officials in his entourage, or fringe groups in the protest camp as possible targets for the sanctions.

Meanwhile, a landmark EU trade and association deal, which Ukraine authorities rejected in November in favour of a Russian bailout, is still open to signature should Yanukovych calm things down and change his mind.

“It is an offer that still stands, the door is open, when the Ukraine is ready but I don’t think there will be any renegotiation on this,” said an EU official.

EU unsure who to blacklist in Ukraine

EU countries have agreed to impose sanctions on the Ukrainian regime, but disagree who should be on the blacklist and when it should enter into life.

EU toes the line on Syria air strikes

EU foreign ministers to back Western air strikes on Syria, the same way they backed the UK over Russia's chemical attack on an ex-spy in Britain.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  2. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  3. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  4. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  5. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  6. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  7. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  10. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  12. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights