EU reaching its limits with anti-Russia sanctions

EU reaching its limits with anti-Russia sanctions

The European Union is reaching its limits with sanctions against Russia, an EU diplomat told EURACTIV after the end of the EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday.

“If there was such a mess with Russia’s oil, imagine what would happen with a proposal to ban gas”, the diplomat said.

“The 7th package of sanctions against Moscow will be extremely difficult […] We are very close to reaching our limits. What will the 7th package include?” the diplomat wondered.

The diplomat explained that at the foreign affairs meeting yesterday, although there is ongoing progress in talks with Hungary to lift its veto over Europe’s proposal for an embargo on Russian oil, the atmosphere indicated that “we even took a step back”. 

“Hungary is doing everything to get guarantees […] essentially to get the money from the Recovery Fund and even more than that”, the diplomat said. 

According to Financial Times, the decision to freeze Russia’s assets has already raised concern in states with tense relations with the US and Europe. The article reads that an outright seizure of Moscow’s wealth would be viewed as crossing a political Rubicon. “It would essentially be an action that does away with the international political economy system we have set up over [recent] decades,” said Simon Hinrichsen, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.

EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said that the EU has not found consensus on the new sanction package against Russia and an agreement could be still ‘a week or two’ away.