Saturday

21st Apr 2018

EU extends sanctions on Russia

  • German chancellor Angela Merkel during a recent meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. (Photo: kremlin.ru)

EU leaders on Thursday (22 June) extended sanctions against Russia for another six months, amid concerns that the so-called Minsk peace process between Moscow and Kiev, which France and Germany helped to broker, is currently dead-locked.

French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel briefed their colleagues during Thursday’s summit in Brussels.

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.

"Regretfully, we have seen that there is little progress to be seen" and "constant violations of the ceasefire," Merkel told reporters afterwards.

"Under such circumstances, everybody spoke of the need to extend the sanctions," the chancellor went on, adding that "Germany and France received support regarding the continuation of the Minsk process”.

The EU first imposed sanctions against Russian banks, oil and defence companies, as well as certain officials, in the summer of 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Sanctions were extended until January 2018.

The EU has made their lifting conditional on Russia’s implementation of the Minsk agreement, which requires that Moscow pressures the separatists into a ceasefire.

Russia, however, denies being involved in the conflict. It also refuses to discuss with international partners its annexation of Crimea, saying the half-island's "reunification" with Russia is a closed case.

According to sources, Merkel said the dialogue with Russia was currently dead-locked.

The EU high representative of foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, said the Minsk talks must continue, but that the EU could do more. The high representative recently visited Moscow, in a bid to offer more channels for dialogue.

While no EU leader opposed extending the sanctions, and many expressed their support for further Franco-German talks with Russia and Ukraine, some said it was important to also cooperate with Russia, for instance on ways to solve the war in Syria.

Swedish prime minister Stefan Loefven, furthermore, called for an updated picture of the efficacy of the sanctions.

A recent study by the US state department said that EU sanctions have reduced Russian GDP by 1 to 1.5 percent, and the EU’s own GDP by 0.1 percent.

In addition, the EU has lost 0.3 percent of its GDP as a consequence of a Russian counter-embargo on EU food products, which was also introduced in 2014.

The US study said that the countries that are the strongest backers of the sanctions on Russia - the Baltic states, Finland and Poland - paradoxically also are the ones to suffer most from them, while the impact on sanction-critics such as Italy has been limited.

The US has lost a mere 0.005 percent of its GDP because of its own sanctions on Russia and the counter-sanctions. The US senate recently passed a bill that would sharpen US sanctions on Russia, but the proposal has stalled in the US house of representatives.

Feature

Crimeans seek stable life under Russian control

Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, there has been a somewhat mixed reaction to the increased Russian presence on the peninsula. Some welcome it, others reject it in hushed voices.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

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