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Federal government: Dispute over plans for Russia sanctions

Federal government: Dispute over plans for Russia sanctions
Federal government: Dispute over plans for Russia sanctions

Germany is putting the brakes on EU plans for a new package of sanctions against Russia. Is Chancellor Olaf Scholz carelessly jeopardizing the trust of his partners?

There is a dispute within the German government over Germany’s position on the EU’s planned new sanctions against Russia. According to information from the dpa, the Foreign Office now sees the Chancellor’s Office’s reservations about the sanctions package as problematic and damaging to its image. The background to this is that Germany was recently alone in this regard.

Before today’s talks in Brussels, the Foreign Office said that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) had worked intensively over the past two years to restore the trust lost among European partners due to the old Russia policy. This trust must not be gambled away again.

Sharp remarks from partners

It had previously become known that the Federal Republic’s permanent representative to the EU had not received permission from Berlin to agree to the EU’s next package of sanctions against Russia. According to diplomats in Brussels, German concerns and requests for changes were a key reason why the negotiations have not yet been concluded.

Recently, it felt as if Germany was the new Hungary, an EU official told dpa, alluding to the fact that the Budapest government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban had repeatedly delayed decisions on Russia sanctions in the past.

It was originally planned that an agreement on the new sanctions package would be reached by the start of the G7 summit of the leading democratic industrial nations. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is also attending the meeting. Now the earliest that a political agreement can be reached in Brussels is today.

Sanctions evasion in sight

The planned new EU sanctions are intended in particular to combat the circumvention of existing sanctions. This means, for example, that Russia’s arms industry can still use Western technology to produce weapons for the war against Ukraine. In addition, there are plans to impose tough EU sanctions for the first time on Russia’s billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) business.

According to EU diplomats, Germany’s reservations about the plans relate primarily to measures designed to make it more difficult to circumvent EU sanctions. Among other things, the German government demanded that companies should not be obliged to ensure that trading partners comply with EU sanctions rules.

Germany alone

The Foreign Office said that the concerns could not be dismissed in principle. At the same time, it must be recognized that the vast majority of other EU states do not see any unacceptable problems. A spokesman for the Federal Republic’s permanent representation to the EU did not want to comment on the negotiations when asked by the dpa. He pointed out that the discussions among the member states are confidential.

Source: Stern

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