After the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation EU started economic sanctions against Russia. These were extended after the shot down of MH17 and because of continous fighting in Eastern Ukraine.
Now in 2016 many EU memberstates want to lift these sanction. The main reason for this is economic pain. The situation in Eastern Ukraine has not improved. Another reason to drop sanctions is these failed to influence the settlement of any key issues.
The EU’s economic sanctions that target Russia’s energy, military, and financial sectors are up for renewal on January 31. The review of the EU’s Russia policy is likely to be held during an EU meeting in October .
An overview of states in favour of lifting sanctions.
Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had “the very greatest interest in stopping sanctions” against the Kremlin. Merkel also said her country, the biggest European economy, was ready to ask the EU to remove the bans against Russia if pro-Moscow forces operating in east Ukraine remain committed to peace. “As soon as we see progress in the Minsk agreement, we will loosen the sanctions,” Merkel told party colleagues at an event in northeastern Germany on Monday evening. (thelocal.de)
France: French President Francois Hollande has called for an end to European Union sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine amid growing dissent in the 28-nation bloc on the restrictive measures. (source)
Slovakia which holds EU presidency : EU should drop Russia sanctions, Slovak PM says after meeting Putin (Reuters)
Italy: Italy’s Demand Delays Extension Of EU Sanctions Against Russia (Radio Free Europe)
Hungary: has taken a similar line as Slovakia.
Czech Republic: President Milos Zeman, a backer of Russia, has repeatedly called for ending sanctions and the head of the upper house of the Czech parliament pleaded with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to end them
Luxembourg, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece are also advocates of lifting the sanctions. (Russia Today)
Against lifting sanctions
Lithuania FM: EU Sanctions on Russia Should Stay (source)
The Netherlands: probably against lifting sanctions. Minister of Foreign affairs Koenders was critical at Slovakian prime minister as the current EU presidency stated EU should lift sanctions (source)
Poland : Poland says lifting Russia sanctions now would weaken EU authority (Reuters)