Tuesday September 2, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
23o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
EU struggles to unite on ways to punish Russia beyond blacklist

European Union governments struggled to find ways of punishing Russia for annexing Crimea, reflecting east-west divisions within the EU and concerns that trade curbs would do self-inflicted damage to Europe’s economy.

It is unclear whether EU leaders will agree on a road map for economic sanctions at a two-day summit starting on Thursday in Brussels, five EU officials told reporters on Wednesday. A less controversial option would be to expand an existing blacklist of 21 Russian and Crimean officials, they said.

“The heterogeneity of EU member states’ interests raises doubts within the Kremlin about how determined the EU will actually be,” Georg Zachmann, a fellow at the Brussels-based Bruegel research group, said in a blog post.

Special trading relationships that several countries have with Russia, coupled with the economic fallout from Europe’s debt crisis, are frustrating a united response to the most serious threat to the European order since the Cold War.

Sanctions require the agreement of all 28 EU countries, a consensus-building process that cannot match Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speed in mobilizing troops in Crimea, staging the secession referendum and moving to annexation.

The need for EU unanimity gives leverage to countries like Cyprus, which is chafing at the terms imposed by European governments in exchange for a 10 billion-euro ($14 billion) bailout that ravaged the island’s economy, the third smallest in the 18-nation euro area.

Cyprus remains a haven for Russian investment as it tries to fix an economy that shrank 6 percent last year. Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told state-run RIK radio on Tuesday that Cyprus opposes further sanctions.

Whether fellow skeptics including Hungary and Bulgaria would endorse a ratcheting up of sanctions in exchange for financial compensation won’t become clear until the leaders assemble in Brussels tomorrow afternoon.

An agreement on economic sanctions “can’t realistically be expected,” Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said at a parliamentary committee meeting in Prague on Wednesday, according to the CTK news service.

At an emergency summit on March 6, the EU suspended trade and travel talks with Russia and paved the way to the imposition on March 17 of asset freezes and visa bans on 13 Russian and eight Crimean officials. The bloc also told Russia there would be “additional and far-reaching consequences for relations in a broad range of economic areas” unless it backed down. EU officials were not sure whether the leaders will view Putin’s takeover of Crimea as the trigger for more measures.

Germany, which dominated the debt crisis response, is also tugged between trade and energy links with Russia and calls by neighbors such as Poland and the Baltic states for a firmer response to aggression on the EU’s doorstep.

Germany relies on Russia for 35 percent of its oil and natural gas imports. About 6,200 German companies generate exports of 36 billion euros and imports of 40.4 billion euros in trade with Russia, according to the BGA exporters’ lobby.

EU economic retaliation must be carefully calibrated, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Tuesday. Austria buys about 55 percent of its gas from Russia, and Austrian banks Raiffeisen Bank International and UniCredit Bank Austria are among the biggest in Russia.

Business ties are good for “promoting peaceful development on both sides,” Faymann said.

EU leaders normally set broad strategy, lessening the likelihood that the summit will decide legally binding steps. While sanctions have made the most headlines, the EU will also sign the political provisions of a trade agreement with Ukraine and consider speeding up its economic assistance.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, on Wednesday proposed adding 1 billion euros to a previously approved 610 million euros in budget support for Ukraine. The European aid would accompany an International Monetary Fund package that is being negotiated.

[Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday March 19, 2014 (14:49)  
Reforms to dominate Greek talks in Paris, debt relief talks later, says source
Trial over 2013 murder of pawn merchant starts in Athens
Rain and storms with hail expected in many parts of Greece
Education minister calls for probe into predecessor´s reform plan
Greece needs private debt overhaul, Piraeus Bank CEO says
Greece’s economy won’t return to growth unless debt of companies and individuals is restructured, said Piraeus Bank (TPEIR) SA Chief Executive Officer Anthimos Thomopoulos, a sign the countr...
Cheap energy pulls down eurozone producer prices in July
BRUSSELS - A drop in highly volatile energy prices depressed eurozone producer prices in July as expected, underlining disinflationary pressures in the single currency area ahead of the Euro...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Greece defender Papadopoulos fires parting shot at Michel
International defender Avraam Papadopoulos suddenly quit Olympiakos on Monday to join Turkish club Trabzonspor, and fired a parting shot at Olympiakos manager Michel putting the blame on the...
SOCCER
Unlikely pair on the Super League summit
Veria and Atromitos are sitting pretty at the top of the Super League after the second round of games thanks to their away wins that made them the only clubs to have six points, as champion ...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Politicized archaeology
Let us suppose that archaeologists discover that the tomb uncovered in Amphipolis was not the resting place of Roxana or Nearchos, but of Alexander the Great. Let us assume, that is, that ar...
EDITORIAL
Moderating expectations
Politics is, to a great extent, all about managing expectations, and anyone who raises that bar too high or too fast is at serious risk of disappointing and losing the people’s favor. In a c...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greece needs private debt overhaul, Piraeus Bank CEO says
2. Cheap energy pulls down eurozone producer prices in July
3. Greece sells 1.14 bln euros of 6-month T-bills, yield eases
4. Reforms to dominate Greek talks in Paris, debt relief talks later, says source
5. Greece defender Papadopoulos fires parting shot at Michel
6. Unlikely pair on the Super League summit
more news
Today
This Week
1. Politicized archaeology
2. Rain and storms with hail expected in many parts of Greece
3. Moderating expectations
4. New committee formed to assess progress of deregulation in closed-shop professions
5. Trial over 2013 murder of pawn merchant starts in Athens
6. Reforms to dominate Greek talks in Paris, debt relief talks later, says source
Today
This Week
1. Thessaloniki mayor Boutaris sworn in wearing yellow star amid Golden Dawn protests
2. The battle against progress
3. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
4. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
5. Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
6. Hardouvelis, ECB executive discuss bank program, stress tests
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.