Wednesday

27th Oct 2021

Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions

  • Russia attack was 'very grave challenge to common security', Angela Merkel said (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Germany and France are to impose new sanctions on Russia over the UK gas attack, with some measures due as early as Monday (26 March).

"We, Germany and France, agreed that such reactions in addition to the recall of the [EU] ambassador are necessary," German chancellor Angela Merkel said at a joint press briefing with French president Emmanuel Macron in Brussels on Friday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • New sanctions were 'obvious', Emmanuel Macron said (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

She declined to say what the new sanctions might be, but she called the UK incident a "very grave challenge to common security".

Macron said it was "obvious" that France would take further action.

"We consider this attack a serious challenge to our security and European sovereignty so it calls for a coordinated and determined response from the European Union and its member states", he said.

He added that French experts had come to "the same technical conclusions" as British ones on the case in a "very clear way".

They spoke after a summit at which the EU blamed Russia for trying to kill a former spy in the UK using a chemical weapon and recalled the EU ambassador to Russia from Moscow.

New EU-level sanctions on Russia might wait until another summit in June, the Danish leader, Lars Lokke Rasmussen indicated.

There might be more information on EU-level measures in April already, European Council head Donald Tusk added.

But like-minded EU states might start expelling Russian diplomats as early as Monday, in a group that includes the Czech Republic, the Baltic states, Denmark, France, Ireland, Poland, and Sweden.

"We'll now consider in the coming days … whether we want to take individual action relating to Russian diplomats in Ireland", Irish leader Leo Vardakar said.

Lithuania's Dalia Grybauskaite said: "From the beginning of next week, a lot of countries, we will go for our national measures.

Other countries were wary of escalating tension with Russia.

"It is important that this condemnation [of Russia's actions] would not automatically trigger an escalation, or close the necessary space for dialogue with Russia at this geopolitically sensitive moment," Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni told press.

He pledged "solidarity" with the UK, adding: "It has always been said that Brexit doesn't mean rupture or change in political and strategic relations" between the UK and the EU.

Tusk said it was difficult to imagine what might be an "adequate" reaction to Russia's unprovoked chemical attack on the UK.

"We cannot respond adequately because we're completely different from the perpetrator of this attack, if you know what I mean," he said.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker noted that the recall of the EU ambassador to Russia was an "unprecedented step".

Meanwhile, Russian officials continued to deride the British and EU accusations on Friday.

"The idea of EU solidarity is above common sense", Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told state news agency Tass.

"Naturally, the European Union is general and each of its members individually may take any decisions [sanctions] they think right, but, obviously, consequences of such decisions will be double-edged … the consequences of these choices will certainly cut both ways," he added.

EU summit takes hard look at Russia

EU leaders will discuss Russian security threats in the wake of the UK attack, but will not adopt new sanctions at Thursday's summit.

EU states expel over 30 Russian diplomats

France, Germany, Poland, and the US have led the largest-ever expulsion of Russian spies and diplomats in reaction to the UK chemical attack.

Agenda

Macron and Syria top EU agenda This WEEK

French president to deliver speech on EU democratic model after populist victories in Hungary and Italy and amid an escalation of the Syria crisis.

News in Brief

  1. US to add last three EU states to visa-waiver list
  2. German ministry gives thumbs up to Russian pipeline
  3. EU regulator foresees endless battles with Facebook
  4. UK fears three migrants drowned in Channel
  5. Israel joins EU science scheme, despite Palestine clause
  6. Upcoming flu season 'could be severe', EU agency warns
  7. Ukraine wins Dutch case on Crimea gold
  8. Most Poles want Warsaw to back down in EU dispute

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Environment ministers continue dogfight on energy price hike
  2. Most lawmakers unhappy with lead MEP's asylum bill
  3. More transparency on EU media owners planned for 2022
  4. Europe's deadly border policies
  5. 'Brussels So White' needs action, not magical thinking
  6. How to break the political deadlock on migration
  7. Hedegaard on the hazards of stalling climate action
  8. Belarus exiles in EU fear regime-linked murderers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us