Sunday

22nd Apr 2018

EU leaders agree new Russia sanctions

  • Merkel, Hollande (c), and Polish leader Donald Tusk: A decision on economic sanctions will require another summit (Photo: Council of European Union)

EU leaders have reacted to Russia's annexation of Crimea by blacklisting 12 new names and by agreeing to send EU peace monitors if need be.

"We have 12 names and I can assure you that some of them are really high-ranking,” EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy told press after a summit in Brussels on Thursday (20 March).

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.

The list will be made public at around 4.30pm local time on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it is “close" to one adopted by the US earlier the same day.

But she hinted there are no oligarchs on the EU list, because of the "different legal basis" for sanctions in the EU and US. She also said the EU names "have to be linked to Crimea" and to Russia's illegal decision to annex the Ukrainian region.

The British PM, David Cameron, deflected suggestions the EU response is weaker than the US.

“We have made progress and the world will see that,” he told media.

In another step, EU leaders agreed that if the OSCE, an intergovernmental club, does not send peace monitors to Ukraine in the "next few days," the Union will send its own mission, as it did to Georgia.

With the OSCE being blocked by Russia, Van Rompuy noted that planning for the EU mission is already under way.

“We are not starting from scratch. We are looking to an EU contribution to an OSCE mission or to an own EU mission and here also the preparations are ongoing," he said.

French President Francois Hollande pledged to contribute personnel to either model.

He said an EU mission would monitor demonstrations and help ensure free and fair presidential elections in May.

The leaders also cancelled the EU-Russia summit in June and high-level bilateral meetings.

German-Russian government consultations have been scrapped, while Hollande said his foreign and defence ministers will no longer travel to Moscow next Tuesday.

Amid fears that Russia might invade other parts of Ukraine, EU countries tasked the European Commission to draft proposals for EU sanctions on Russia’s energy, financial, and defence sectors.

The package is to be made ready “for rapid implementation.”

Hollande said another EU summit would be needed to take the step.

"We are at the beginning of a process, if there is no dialogue and a further escalation, then we will trigger economic sanctions. Nobody imagines a military option, dissuasion can only be economic," he said.

Merkel indicated the so-called third step in the "sanctions progression" would go ahead if Russia invades eastern or southern Ukraine.

Van Rompuy noted: “We will assess each new incident by itself … We will not put all our cards on the table - that’s for us to decide when to trigger all this.”

On Friday, the EU will also sign the political part of an association agreement with Ukraine. The trade part of the EU accord, the bulk of the treaty, is to be signed after May.

Similar deals with Moldova and Georgia - both of which contain Russian-backed “frozen conflicts” - are to be signed in June, two months earlier than planned.

Amid the show of solidarity on Ukraine, France’s Hollande struck an awkward note.

He highlighted that Crimea has important cultural and historical links to Russia and voiced hostility to Ukraine’s EU membership prospects.

“We are now at the stage of association and the signature is only a partial one. I always thought Ukraine should be associated with the European Union but should not demand to be a member of the European Union,” he said.

Update: This article was updated at noon Brussels time on 21 March to note the EU will publish the 12 names later than expected, now at 4.30pm

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