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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Austria is encouraged to gradually withdraw from Russia sanctions

The head of the Austrian foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has offered to gradually lift sanctions against Russia during the run of the “Minsk-2”. A German colleague of Kurtz Frank-Walter Steinmeier voiced a similar idea, criticized NATO “sabre-rattling” near the Russian borders. Old Europe is less inclined to support anti-Russian campaign, but will they be able to influence decisions on sanctions?

The Minister of foreign Affairs of Austria Sebastian Kurtz, speaking on the TV channel ORF TV, announced a scheme for the gradual lifting of sanctions with Russia. “I believe that we should gradually come to the principle, according to which each step towards compliance with the Minsk agreements will follow a gradual lifting of sanctions”, – quotes TASS of the youngest foreign Minister in the European Union.

“A year ago the voices of opponents of the sanctions was almost inaudible. Now the atmosphere has changed”

As earlier reported by the European source, the question of the extension of anti-Russian economic sanctions were not included in the agenda of the meeting of the foreign Ministers of the EU, which will be held on Monday in Brussels, but will likely be discussed on the sidelines.

We also recall that in late may the Minister of foreign Affairs of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the German government is considering the gradual lifting of sanctions. “I have always held the position that sanctions are not an end in itself. If we see the progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, we will talk about the easing of sanctions”, – said the head of the German foreign Ministry.

We will add that on June 18, Steinmeier said it is necessary “to involve Russia in the international partnership liability.”

These words came in the context of criticism, which the German foreign Minister was subjected to “saber rattling” on the Eastern border of NATO. According to Steinmeier, “fatal narrowing of opinion only on the military aspect and to seek salvation in politics of intimidation”. “Steinmeier spoke out against the “ridge” (NATO Secretary General Jens) Stoltenberg – bets to intimidate Russia. So through the curtain threats and hysteria heard some voice of reason,” – commented on the words of the head of the German foreign Ministry, the Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Alexei Pushkov.

Attempts by the US to break Russia’s relations with Europe were in vain, Moscow sees the EU move to restore contacts in the economic and political spheres, said on June 15, the state Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin.

Note that the results of the poll, whose results were known last week, more than half the population of Italy – 51% – in favor of the lifting of sanctions, Germany and France, this opinion was shared by 48% and 43% of the population respectively. For comparison: the extension of anti-Russian restrictive measures in favor of respondents one-third of the inhabitants of Germany and France with 31% and 29% respectively and only 27% of Italians take the same stance.

At the same time became known the results of new international studies in Washington organized by the sociological center. Drinking under which the majority of inhabitants of EU countries do not share the policy of the authorities against Russia and in favor of good relations with Moscow.

“Energy enterprises against the enemy for internal purposes”

“In Europe there is a struggle that is associated with the sanctions, and besides, there gradually begin to realize that their new system is pushed into a confrontation with Russia in the cold war”, – said the newspaper VIEW Dean of the faculty of world politics and Economics school of Economics Sergei Karaganov. He recalled that while Eastern Europeans strive here to please the United States, most continental Europeans don’t want confrontation.

“Now they are looking for ways discharge. Since the position on sanctions, which is imposed should be uniform, they are not yet ready to break this common position. In addition, the sanctions for the European Union now in terms of irritation became one of the main conditions for the enterprises”, – said the expert. Therefore, the representatives of Old Europe Steinmeier and Kurz urge to get out of the sanctions gradually, “thus preserving the unity, but starting to get out of confrontation,” said the analyst.

This interviewee believes that to lift sanctions would not have time. “The position is changing, obviously. But time is short. In addition, the Americans will be very hard to push. Moreover, in the EU, including in the mainland, there is a group, which will focus around the conditional (the ruling German party Alliance) CDU/CSU, and many others who advocate a tougher stance against Russia”, – he said.

This is not only because they are happy with it, or because under pressure of the United States. “The Germans and similar forces in the current leadership of the EU is considered an anti-Russian policy tool for the unification of the EU in a situation when it is spreading in all other directions. That is, they have found the enemy and want energy enterprises against the enemy to try to use for internal purposes. Such dynamics is”, – concluded the expert.

The final word for the Berlin

Chief editor of the magazine “Russia in global politics” Fyodor Lukyanov in conversation with the newspaper VIEW recalled that Austria was from the very beginning in the first ranks of skeptics about the sanctions. “A year ago the voices of those who oppose the sanctions, was either very quiet or not heard for the reason that understand that in the current political atmosphere to raise the question useless. Now the atmosphere has changed, and he immediately began to sound proposals on how to transform this policy”, – said the expert.

He also reminded that in Europe there are countries who believe that the sanctions cannot be undone. “The decision on the beginning of the process will depend on the position of Berlin and particularly of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And she believes that the time has not come yet, it is on the side of sanctions, although in Germany there are different kinds of oscillations, including the government, the ruling coalition. The social Democrats are taking a more cautious stance,” said the source.

He recalled that Merkel as the initiator of the Minsk agreements believes that if you reduce the pressure on Moscow, the impetus for Russia to contribute to the Minsk process will be reduced, the same position is shared by many in Europe and especially in the United States. According to the analyst, this position will last until the end of the year, “and then she too starts to change, barring any new disasters in the Ukraine or beyond”. “In this atmosphere we live that any change of type of fans turns into a political issue”, – stated the expert.

Lukyanov believes that in the near future when the EU will make a decision on sanctions, nothing will change. “Sanctions will be extended for the next period, probably six months, but it will be followed by a discussion, which we are already seeing,” said Lukyanov.

Tired Europe and fora for Ukraine”

The statement Rasmussen – “a clear symptom of the fact that the attitude to Ukraine is changing for the worse for her side,” said the source. “The pressure on Kiev to fulfill its obligations, the General recognition of the fact that part of responsibility lies on Kiev, shows the same transformation of this environment. From Ukraine Europe certainly tired, because the progress there since the reforms, the development of a democratic society is clearly not one that was expected,” – said the analyst.

However, here we must understand that in Ukraine there is always a “handicap”, said Lukyanov. “Russia always and inevitably will be regarded as a country which has a great responsibility, because otherwise, for the Europeans it’s the same as admitting failure and incorrectness of all previous policy”, – concluded the expert.

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