EU unity falters on Russia sanctions as Europe's economy crumbles

EU unity falters on Russia sanctions as Europe’s economy crumbles

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Poland and the Baltic states, closer to the frontline, have in recent weeks circulated a proposal for more far-reaching sanctions, including sanctions on Russian gas and its nuclear industry, and argued against exemptions, such as for Russian steel and on sale of diamonds.

‘This is not right’

A person familiar with the matter said some in that group want the central Gazprombank to be targeted for energy payments to Russia. The person said that many countries were reluctant but that these issues would be discussed in 2023.

For some European politicians, such as those in Poland facing the battle on their doorstep, other states’ hesitation to support tougher measures has proved frustrating.

Radosław Sikorski, former Polish foreign minister and now a member of the European Parliament, said, “We will demand that Germany change its policy. It is not fair for Germany to rely on Poland to defend against the threat of war.” “Just because you’re rich and big doesn’t mean you’re always right.”

Russia says the sanctions have backfired against the West, fueling inflation as energy prices soar. Moscow says its own economy is resilient.

Meanwhile, the EU’s existing measures are not always indisputable. The European Union has imposed a price cap on Russian oil deliveries by sea, but its crude is selling below that level, so revenue still flows to Moscow.

The cap was billed as further punishment for Russia, but some officials say the main effect is to ease the bloc’s own restrictions on oil trade, provided prices stay below the cap, European insurers will block Russian shipments. Can underwrite.

The oil cap – designed to align the entire European Union with the United States – was adjusted in a nod to Greece and Cyprus, which have large tanker fleets, people familiar with the matter said.

European diplomats and officials said during this week’s talks that the bloc was nearing its limit.

“We are careful with the sanctions now, so that we don’t go so far that we damage the European economy as a whole,” said Edita Herda, EU ambassador to the Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency.

“If we take some steps against Russia, it could cost some political leaders their jobs. We need to give countries time to adjust,” said Herda, who chairs meetings of EU countries. We need a prosperous Europe to help Ukraine.” They also include those that determine the size of the most recent sanctions.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban campaigned at home against the sanctions, using posters depicting punitive measures such as bombs destroying the Hungarian economy.

Others are more discrete, while some have half an eye on future relations with Russia after the war is over.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said this month that the EU would “tighten sanctions against Russia as long as Putin continues his war”.

He has also said that ties are now being “downgraded, downgraded, downgraded”, but there should be an opportunity for economic cooperation again for a “Russia that ends war”.

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