Friday

21st Jul 2017

EU threatens Russian economy after MH17 disaster

  • Member states decided to add more names and companies to an existing blacklist (Photo: Council of European Union)

EU foreign ministers on Tuesday (22 July) gave Russia a few days to stop arming Ukrainian rebels, believed responsible for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane, or face sanctions on its financial, high-tech, and defence industries.

They also decided to add more names and companies to an existing blacklist by the end of July.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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 EU demands say Russia must: stop the flow of weapons to eastern Ukraine; withdraw its "additional troops" from the Ukrainian border; use its influence on pro-Russian separatists to grant international investigators full access to the crash site of flight MH17; and fully co-operate with the probe.

According to the ministers’ conclusions, the EU "remains ready to introduce without delay a package of further significant restrictive measures, if full and and immediate co-operation on the above mentioned demands fails to materialise."

"To this end, the foreign affairs council requests the EU commission and the European External Action Service to finalise the preparatory work on possible targeted measures and to present proposals for taking action including access to capital markets, defence, dual use goods and sensitive technology including in the energy sector”.

The proposals are to be tabled at a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels on Thursday.

Speaking on his way out of Tuesday’s meeting, Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans said that "this [the new EU threat] is a logical consequence ... of the lack of progress that we have seen on the Russian side" since a previous ultimatum ran out at the end of June.

The Netherlands has been hit the hardest by the crash, as 193 out of the 298 victims of flight MH17 were Dutch citizens.

Timmermans said he was happy for the solidarity expressed by his colleagues and that the "decision was reached unanimously".

Diplomatic service paper

The EU diplomatic service (EEAS) is not starting from scratch on the stage three sanctions.

In a confidential paper dating back to April, and seen by EUobserver, the EEAS outlined three scenarios: “low-intensity … medium-intensity [and] … high-intensity”.

Under the third option, the paper lists "capital market restrictions", "restriction or prohibition of new investment in Russia", "strict application of EU regulatory rules to Russian assets in EU companies" and import bans on oil and gas.

Member states provided their own assessment individually on what impact these scenarios would have on their economies.

Financial services sanctions affects countries like Britain and Austria, a ban on weapons exports hits France (Paris is selling Russia €1.2 billion of warships), while gas is sensitive for eastern EU countries and for Germany.

Speaking at an event with the Ukrainian foreign minister on Tuesday, Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake said "the question is do we continue to allow economic interests and a contract to deliver warships to go before anything else or take a strong stance for our values?"

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said a first round of economic sanctions could be adopted very quickly, "even this week" and without EU leaders requiring to meet again.

His Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz, however, said it is not excluded that leaders will have to meet again, while the Irish foreign minister said it could happen before 1 August.

EU foreign policy faces test after MH17 shootdown

EU foreign policy is facing a major test today as ministers gather in Brussels to consider their response to the suspected downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight by Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Opinion

MH17 and the diplomacy of business going Dutch

The shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines flight reinforces the point that the security of citizens outside state borders is to be framed as a central issue in 21st century security policy.

Juncker: Death penalty will end Turkey's EU bid

Turkish president Erdogan said he would reinstate capital punishment, for people behind last year's failed military coup. But European Commission president Juncker says the move would end Turkey's bid to join the EU.

Cyprus talks up in the air

A week after the failure of negotiations to reunite the islands, Greek Cypriots are calling on Turkish Cypriots to reaffirm their commitment to the process.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary