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Self-restrictions: why in the Bundestag they again raised the issue of lifting EU sanctions against Russia


Representatives of several parliamentary factions in Germany called for a gradual easing of anti-Russian restrictive measures by the European Union. In particular, this was announced in the Free Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party and in the Left Party during the conference "Five years of sanctions against Russia - how to break the mutual blockade?" According to experts, the energy, consumer and agricultural sectors of Germany suffered from sanctions. Calls for the abolition of restrictive measures will be heard more often, but their implementation requires the collective efforts of the EU member states, analysts say.

Representatives of several parliamentary factions of the Bundestag at once called for the process of gradual relaxation of restrictive measures against the Russian Federation to begin. Deputies expressed this position during the conference “Five years of sanctions against Russia - how to get out of the mutual blockade?”, Organized by the Eastern Committee of the German Economy.

So, the representative of the center-right Free Democratic Party (FDP) Sandra Weser, supporting the preservation of sanctions, noted that restrictive measures could be mitigated as paragraphs of the Minsk agreements are implemented.

For his part, member of the left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) Bernd Westphal stressed that Germany should support the line proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron. According to the parliamentarian, Germany needs to "take the first step" towards Moscow after five years of the sanctions regime.

The representative of the Party of the Left (Die Linke) Klaus Ernst, in turn, said that Germany has very high chances to achieve the lifting of sanctions at the EU level. The deputy recalled that Germany was most affected by the establishment of a regime of mutual economic restrictions between Russia and the EU.

Ernst added that the method of sanction pressure on Moscow has shown its inefficiency.

Peter Ramsauer, Chairman of the Bundestag Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development, also supported the concept of phasing out restrictive measures.

Now the process of weakening the European economy is taking place, and against this background, the Russian market, which has always been important for Germany, is gaining priority, explained Konstantin Voronov, head of the regional problems and conflicts department of the European political studies department of IMEMO RAS, in an interview with RT.

“Sanction pressure has significantly affected many sectors of the economy of Germany, in particular, in the areas of energy and consumption. This objective reason prompts the political forces of Germany to call for the weakening of anti-Russian restriction, ”said the expert.

“I think that agriculture suffered the most from the restrictive steps, since the German economy is export-oriented, and the Russian sanctions, accordingly, reduced the possibility of consuming German goods,” Vladimir Olenchenko, senior researcher at the Center for European Studies at IMEMO RAS, suggested in a commentary on RT .

Sanction Fatigue

The need to lift economic sanctions against Russia was also expressed in one of the ruling parties in Germany - the Christian Democratic Union. In early September, this was stated by the head of the CDU in the federal state of Thuringia, Mike Moring.

  • Farmer in Germany
  • AFP
  • © Patrick Pleul / dpa

The parliamentarian emphasized that the retaliatory restrictive measures introduced by Moscow against the EU cause significant damage to the economy of Germany, especially in the field of agriculture and the agro-industrial sector.

The deputy recalled that residents of the eastern regions of Germany (the territory of the German Democratic Republic until 1990) are counting on the normalization of relations with Moscow, since relations with this country are more closely built.

“The most important thing is to maintain a dialogue with Russia. All hopes are connected with the expectation of a bilateral rapprochement on the basis of the Minsk agreements, ”the Rheinische Post newspaper quotes the head of the CDU in Thuringia.

Calls to abandon sanctions against Moscow have repeatedly been voiced by other representatives of the German political establishment. Similar statements were made by the prime ministers of the federal states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Lower Saxony.

Not only the leaders of regions with developed agricultural industries, but also representatives of German industry are interested in lifting the sanctions regime. So, the need to normalize relations with Russia was expressed by the head of the BASF chemical concern Martin Brudermüller.

It is worth noting that many German politicians, despite calls for normalizing relations, continue to link the issue of lifting restrictive measures from Moscow with the implementation of the Minsk agreements to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine. This position in June 2019 was once again confirmed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

However, Moscow has repeatedly indicated that it is not a party to the conflict and the subject of settlement agreements, but acts as an intermediary. The Russian Foreign Ministry has consistently reminded the EU countries that Ukraine is responsible for the failure to comply with the Minsk Agreements.

Economic load

Not only the German economy suffers losses from sanctions. In April of this year, European Parliament deputy from France Nadine Morano sent a letter to the head of European diplomacy Federica Mogherini, in which she indicated that the pork processing industry in France was losing revenues of € 400 million a year, while Norwegian exports to Russia fell by € 1 billion a year.

  • European Parliament Building
  • Reuters
  • © Vincent Kessler

Morano said that “sanctions completely undermine the structure of the global market” - companies from EU member states are deprived of the opportunity to supply their products to the Russian Federation. This is used by third countries that are not affected by the retaliatory embargo.

“While EU countries are losing their market shares in Russia, third countries that are not affected by its embargo receive an advantage. For example, China has opened a terminal for exporting fruits and vegetables, while Brazil has increased the volume of meat exports, ”the statement says.

The negative impact of anti-Russian sanctions on the economy was also announced in Hungary, which, according to Foreign Minister Pyotr Siyyarto, lost about $ 7 billion due to export restrictions.

In October 2018, the Coldiretti Association of Italian Agricultural Manufacturers reported that Italy’s agricultural export losses from Russian restrictions in response to Western sanctions exceeded € 1 billion. Despite this, the EU leadership every time decides to extend economic sanctions against Moscow.

All Eastern and Central Europe came under the negative influence of mutual sanctions of the EU and the Russian Federation, Konstantin Voronov noted.

“Large European economies that maintain relations with Russian partners and are looking for workarounds for further cooperation are quite sensitive to such restrictive measures. But in Europe there are multinational companies that do not allow a sharp decline in trade. Anti-Russian sanctions inhibit not only current trade and economic ties, but also future business opportunities, ”the expert emphasized.

In turn, Vladimir Olenchenko noted that statements about the need to mitigate or abolish the restrictive measures that German deputies and other European politicians are making will sound louder as the pace of growth of the pan-European economy slows down. At the same time, the political scientist added that countries of the “new Europe” like the Baltic republics that rely on Brussels subsidies will oppose lifting the sanctions in the EU.

“Germany, France, Italy, Spain favor the abolition of restrictions, and the countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic are trying to politically influence the strengthening of anti-Russian sanctions. Restrictive measures in respect of Moscow will remain in effect until collective agreement is reached on their abolition, ”concluded Olenchenko.

Source: russiart

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