The EU will gradually begin to lift economic sanctions against Russia from next year, told Reuters two European diplomat. “Likely, sanctions will not be lifted all at once, but may be decided to remove them in the next year with one sector”, — said the interlocutor of the Agency.
According to diplomats, the unity in the EU on the issue of sanctions is eroded, because the leadership of the countries that suffered most from Russian counter-sanctions, was under increasing pressure from their own farmers and companies. The news Agency also drew attention to Russia’s actions, which promises profitable trades and is reminiscent of the loss of profits due to the imposition of its ban on food imports.
Another diplomat who represents a country, in favour of the continuation of the sanctions, said that the unity in this matter, “it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain”. Several diplomats from EU countries, working in Moscow, argue that the consent of the next extension of the sanctions will be difficult to achieve because Russia is constantly promoting its point of view among the EU members from southern and Eastern Europe.
“As a result we see more and more countries are saying they need to perform sanctions, assess their effectiveness and then again to review them,” said Reuters, these diplomatic sources. According to them, Moscow’s policy is primarily aimed at the belief in the dangers of sanctions in countries such as Italy, Greece, Hungary, Cyprus, Slovenia, Slovakia and Bulgaria.
One of the diplomats said that the decision of the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to attend the economic forum in St. Petersburg was partly motivated by his concerns for the unity of the European Union against sanctions. “Juncker came because he was worried that member countries conducted separate negotiations with Russia. He wanted to try to regain the initiative”, — said the Agency interlocutor.
Another diplomatic source said about the Russian tactics designed to shift the blame for the failure of the Minsk agreements on Kiev. In this scenario, said the interviewee, “the countries that want the lifting of sanctions, I would say that Ukraine is not doing enough to implement the Minsk agreements”, which could become a pretext for the lifting of restrictions.
In Germany, for a gradual lifting of sanctions expressed by the Minister of foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Reuters reminds that contrary to the position of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Diplomats say that the pressure from the German business will continue to grow.
In early July the European Union decided to extend sanctions against Russia by six months, from 31 July to 31 January 2017. The EU intends to discuss their performance in the fall.