As has informed Reuters a source in the EU, the summit participants while discussing sanctions against Russia took into account the fact that the election to the post of President of the United States Donald trump. So, it was felt that delaying the issue or renewal of the restrictions for a short period of time would be “a bad signal to the new head of the White house”.
However, publicly Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that the decision on the extension of sanctions related to the current situation in Ukraine, and not trying to anticipate what will be the policy of the new President of the United States.
A similar position was made by the head of the European Council Donald Tusk. “Still too early to say what will be the policy of the new us administration towards Russia,” he said.
However, as reported by Reuters, during the summit of EU countries (including Poland) supported the renewal of sanctions for a year. However, it was opposed by some other EU members. In particular we are talking about Italy, advocating for early resumption of business relations with Russia.
The validity of the current sanctions were supposed to expire on 31 January 2017. December 14, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande called for their extension. They noted that the situation in Ukraine is no significant progress and the main condition of lifting the sanctions is the implementation of the Minsk agreements — is still not implemented.
Economic sanctions against Russia were imposed by the EU after the annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Since then they repeatedly extended.
In August 2014, Russia responded to the sanctions by the introduction of the food embargo. The ban includes a number of products from the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and Norway. Later the restrictions were extended to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Albania, Montenegro and Ukraine.