An overview of EU member states wanting to lift sanctions against Russia

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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. (

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)


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22 Comments on An overview of EU member states wanting to lift sanctions against Russia

  1. The current level of pretended sanctions is acceptable for Putin, a stronger one is probably not. So to coerce Putin to give an order to Russian armed forces and mercenaries in Ukraine to stop operations, EU need to broaden sanctions against Russia, not to lift them. In case of lifting Putin for sure will take the offensive in Ukraine, and not only there, but also will likely destabilize other countries, including the Baltics. The only small risk from EU for him will be restoration of the current acceptable level of sanctions in a few months, by which moment he will have unleashed war on many new territories. It’s a pity those politicians don’t understand mentality of such insane dictators. While some of them are simply corrupted by the Russian regime…

    • Never in history your theory has ever panned out…. the reverse however at times did.

    • At some point all the unleashed menace discussed in Ukrainian parliament in November 2013 ( ) is going to reach Washington.

      The United States has added 37 individuals and entities to its sanctions blacklist aimed at Russia over its continuing support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and the 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. “Treasury stands with our partners in condemning Russia’s violation of international law, and we will continue to sanction those who threaten Ukraine’s peace, security, and sovereignty,” John Smith, acting director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said on September 1. The United States blacklisted a number of Russian companies operating in Crimea, including construction firms Mostotrest and SGM-Most which have been helping to build a bridge from Russia to the peninsula, a statement said. Six separatist representatives in eastern Ukraine and 11 officials in Crimea were also sanctioned.
      BRUSSELS — European Union ambassadors appear set to prolong asset freezes and visa bans against 146 individuals and 37 entities that, according to the EU, are responsible for actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity. EU sources have told RFE/RL that the decision to prolong the measures by six months will be taken ahead of a September 15 deadline without much discussion.

  2. Liane Theuer // August 31, 2016 at 8:01 pm // Reply

    With Merkel´s position you are wrong.
    She don´t say „pro-Moscow forces operating in east Ukraine must remain committed to peace“.
    She says „Russia sanctions must stay in place until it fully implements the Minsk agreements“ :

    And Merkel echoes Obama : „Sanctions on Russia can and should only be lifted once Russia fully complies with its commitments under the Minsk [peace] agreement” :

    Merkel perfectly knows that Minsk II can not be satisfied from one side if the other side does not want it too.
    And we know that Poroshenko and the entire coalition need the war in the East to preserve their power. (If anyone doubts this, I can prove it with Links. Even from the Ukrainian site)
    So as Merkel insists that Russia (she never talks about Kiev) must fully comply Minsk II, she is well aware that she demand the impossible.

    The situation is different with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
    After the famous agreement with Yanukovych was dumped to trash a few hours later by a coup, he probably realized that he had run into a NATO trap.
    Since then he has tried by every means to prevent an escalation. There are countless examples.
    Yes, Steinmeier would like to lift the sanctions. But Merkel is (yet) more powerful.

    The German industry has never advocated the sanctions and calls for the lifting since a long time.

  3. James O'Neill // September 1, 2016 at 4:31 am // Reply

  4. You are forget about real reason for lifting sanctions by EU — it’s Russian food ban from EU what does billions in losses:

    • A nice idea to refer to Russian Economic Development Ministry’s propaganda bullshit in Sputniknews as a real analysis. Do look at the EU agri-food trade statistical factsheet:
      Does the picture look like a “real reason” for lifting the sanctions by EU?

      • Yes, it’s real reason. You can’t even read your “factshit” without any info on Russian. Go to Wall Street Journal and read real facts about Russian and EU trading sums — billions dollars only on animal food:

        • The article is behind a paywall. The authorities of EU countries are guided in their economic decisions by the official EU stats yet, and not by Russian propaganda or even WSJ articles (which is hardly about $billions of EU losses due to the Russian food ban, as you’re trying to allege here). Total EU exports of pet food in Mio € is 2878 (for 2013) – 3095 (for 2014) – 3427 (for 2015), so you chose a very lame example (there is no factual one anyway). You just don’t understand how global market works.

          • “WSJ article is Russian propaganda” – what the lame sentence from you. Read WSJ article again and go to real EU export stats by countries.

          • JayDi, I thought you read in English well. Reread my comment.

            While I think it’s evident for everyone, the simplest explanation for you. If Russia stopped buying some foodstuff in EU and started buying the same amount of similar foodstuff in, say, South America, EU started selling the remaining part to where South America cut delivery in favour of Russia. If Russia did not start buying similar foodstuff elsewhere, then EU sanctions were just an excuse, and the real reason was to limit the flow of funds from Russian economy because of the lack of these due to low oil and gas prices. So this won’t be restored after lifting the sanctions. Russian supervisory bodies will just “find” some pests or chemicals in every type of EU inessential foodstuff, and delivery of these will be banned anyway.

          • >> Slozhny

            No, you can’t easy change supply route and market for your products by your wish. EU market is very strict – all sell quotas are share between countries. You can’t come to other country and sell all what you want. Ask your Poland friends about scrapped apples.

            You are right — Russian sanctions is self protection mechanism. Russia closed marker from outer companies and supply own industry to raise up. BUT when EU is lift off that sanctions then Russian MUST respond and lift off it too (by political reasons before the world and own people). It will be economic pain to Russia for return.

          • JayDi, you are writing absolute bullshit about “sell quotas” for foodstuff, especially if the matter is EU agri-food exports to Extra EU. I guess, you read too much Russian propaganda materials.

          • >> Slozhny

            See “Common Agricultural Policy” (CAP) — it’s a base pillar of all EU economy. CAP take up to half of the budget of the entire EU. EU plan and regulate it by subsidies, intervention buying and production quotas.

          • JayDi, NO sell quotas or export quotas. Only import quotas and production quotas (but the last remaining sugar production quotas will be abolished in 2017). Ok? Stop writing bullshit.

  5. I’d rather expect the Anti-Russian sanctions to be tied to the situation in Syria instead of ever being lifted due to US influence.

  6. From another of your posts:
    The country lawyer that released the documents stated that the unity of government policy would be jeopardized if these reports were released

    Maybe referring to the ongoing support of the Dutch Government for sanctions against Russia? or am I overinterpreting?

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