Tag Archives: sanctions

EU ‘Sanctions war’ with Russia continues

On 21 December 2018, the European Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2019.

This decision follows an update from President Macron and Chancellor Merkel to the European Council of 13-14 December 2018 on the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which the sanctions are linked. Given that no progress has been made, the European Council took the political decision to roll-over the economic sanctions against Russia.

The West should either recognize the results of Crimea referendum on reunification with Russia,  or stop imposing sanctions against people living in Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his traditional annual news conference on December 20.

In his words, “it is a curious situation” as Russia is being accused of Crimea’s annexation or in the other words of taking Crimea by force. “But if it was annexation and forcible takeover, then people living in Crimea have nothing to do with that,” he noted. “And if it was their choice in voting, then it was not annexation whatsoever.”

However not all the political forces in the EU share the European Council point of view: since 2014 Marine Le Pen, the leader of French RN (former Front National) has not seen any reason to dispute the result of the referendum.

I see no grounds whatsoever to question this referendum,” she said. She also added that she regards Crimea as a integral part of Russia. According to TASS News Agency Marine Le Pen “hopes to visit Crimea in April” 2019.

EU sanction policy against Russia continues

At European Union Summit in Brussels the leaders unanimously endorsed the prolongation of the economic sanctions against Russia for its actions against Ukraine for another six months with the official rollover expected next week.

The sanctions, mainly targeting the Russian banking and energy sectors, were first imposed in the summer of 2014 in aftermath of  Maidan revolution in Ukraine  and have been extended every six months since then.

EU unanimously prolongs economic sanctions against Russia given zero progress in implementation of Minsk agreements,” European Council President Donald Tusk wrote in his Twitter micro blog referring to peace accords brokered by Germany and France in the Minsk, Belarus capital, aiming to end ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

‘In a short term, the impact of oil prices is much more important for Russia than any sanctions,” said Sergey Khestanov (Сергей Хестанов), a professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) . Oil income makes up 40%  of federal budget revenues and is trading at its highest level in more than four years.

Europeans “deeply regret” US re-imposition of sanctions on Iran

We deeply regret the further re-imposition of sanctions by the United States, due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA)” – says the Joint statement by the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian, Heiko Maas and Jeremy Hunt, and Finance Ministers Bruno Le Maire, Olaf Scholz and Philip Hammond.

“The JCPoA is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and of multilateral diplomacy, endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council through Resolution 2231. It is crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world.

“The JCPoA is working and delivering on its goal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed in twelve consecutive reports that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the Agreement.

“We expect Iran to continue implementing all its nuclear commitments in full, as set out by the JCPoA.

“The JCPoA also provides for the lifting of international sanctions in order to have a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people. 

“It is our aim to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231.

“As parties to the JCPoA, we have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas. On these, as on other topics, our work continues, including with Russia and China as participants to the JCPoA and with third countries interested in supporting the JCPoA. These efforts have been intensified in recent weeks, particularly those underpinning the European initiative to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle on which we are proceeding with work to set up. This will enable continued sanctions lifting to reach Iran and allow for European exporters and importers to pursue legitimate trade.

“Further work must be done to assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business under EU law. Our Finance Ministers will further pursue this at their next meeting. Our collective resolve to complete this work is unwavering. 

“We remain committed to implementing the JCPoA as a matter of respecting international agreements and of our shared international security, and expect Iran to play a constructive role in this regard.”

“Further work must be done to assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business under EU law. Our Finance Ministers will further pursue this at their next meeting. Our collective resolve to complete this work is unwavering. 

“We remain committed to implementing the JCPoA as a matter of respecting international agreements and of our shared international security, and expect Iran to play a constructive role in this regard.”

Salvini regards EU sanctions against Hungary as “madness”

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called EU sanctions against Hungary “madness”, ANSA News agency reports.

“I am convinced that in a few months’ time we’ll find ourselves governing Europe together with Viktor Orban”, Salvini said, while addressing a press conference with Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache.

“…The sanctions against the Hungarian government and people are a political act, a madness by that leftwing Europe that is not resigned to change”. Salvini and Orban recently declared each other  “heroes” while meeting in Milan.
Orban’s Fidesz party and Salvini’s  Euoskeptic League are expected to be among the parties who will strengthen their power in the European Parliament elections on 23-26 May next year.

 

EU prolonged restrictive measures against Syria

The Foreign Affairs Council extended EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime until 1 June 2019.

“Given the ongoing repression of the civilian population, the EU decided to maintain its restrictive measures against the Syrian regime and its supporters, in line with the EU strategy on Syria.”

“The Council also updated the information relating to certain persons and entities on the list and removed two deceased persons from the list. It now includes 259 persons and 67 entities targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze. The persons added most recently were included for their role in the use of chemical weapons, as was the case for the 4 persons added to the sanctions list on 19 March 2018.”

“More broadly, sanctions currently in place against Syria include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.”

“The EU remains committed to finding a lasting and credible political solution to the conflict in Syria as defined in the UN Security Council resolution 2254 and in the 2012 Geneva Communiqué. As stated in the EU strategy on Syria adopted in April 2017, and reaffirmed in the Council conclusion of 16 April 2018 the EU believes that there can be no military solution to the conflict and strongly supports the work of the UN Special Envoy and the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.”

“The legal acts adopted by the Council will be published in the Official Journal of 29 May 2018.”

Pompeo vows “strongest” sanctions against Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the intention to impose the “strongest sanctions in history” against Iran if the country’s leadership did not change the course of its foreign and domestic policy.

 

Following the United States abandoning an international nuclear deal with Iran, Pompeo directed to hardline approach towards the Islamic Republic that included working closely with the Pentagon and regional allies to contain Iran.

Tarand: EU sanctions against Russia bring results

Indrek TARAND MEP (Estonia) shares his views on the EU-Russia relations in the context of relevant debate, taking place during April Plenary session of the European Parliament. MEPs debated with the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini the framework of relations with Russia, responding to new challenges.
At present the EU has a policy of a “selective engagement” with the Russian Federation in areas where member-states see their clear interest. In April Member States agreed that it is a valid principle to apply mainly in the areas of foreign and security policy: from the nuclear deal with Iran to the Middle East peace process, from Afghanistan to the situation on the Korean peninsula, and other global issues such as climate change, the environment, migration, counterterrorism, cooperation in the Arctic, and some regional topic. All of these are strategically important areas of cooperation for Europe and for EU citizens.
Special attention is given to support of the civil society and respect of human rights in Russia, as well as for people-to-people contacts, with a focus on youth. The European External Action Service (EEAS)is looking into a significant increase of the EU funding for civil society and defence of human rights in Russia.

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