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Friday, July 21, 2017

France is trying to stop new sanctions against Russia

The EU cannot approve the extension of sanctions against Russia. The main culprit for the delay was the French Parliament, both chambers who recently called for the lifting of sanctions. According to experts, the behavior of parliamentarians is related to the effect of the losses of the French business and political struggle. But will the French influence the “General line” of the EU?

The French Parliament has not yet agreed on the issue of extending the EU sanctions against Russia, which makes the EU finalized, according to a senior European diplomat, the Ukrainian edition of “UKRINFORM”. The UK and Sweden have also used the procedure of “parliamentary reserve” – it involves the coordination of a question (in this case – sanctions) to national parliaments.

“The French are trying to show their attitude to sanctions, while not making any sudden moves that are not like US”

The source said that the extension of sanctions is going to be approved at the meeting of the European Council for General Affairs on 24 June, but now the issue is postponed. It is not included in the agenda of the meeting, as it is unknown, and the time for France to reconcile this decision with its own Parliament.

Recall the action of sectoral EU sanctions against Russia expires July 31. This Tuesday, the permanent representatives of the member countries of the European Union agreed on the extension until the end of January 2017. “Ambassadors endorsed the political decision to extend sanctions against Russia for another six months. The chairmanship of the Netherlands is committed to complete this process this week on Friday at a meeting of the EU Council for General Affairs. But the question now is not included in the agenda”, – stated the source.

According to him, in the case of the United Kingdom and Sweden, the decision to use “parliamentary reserve” has a technical nature. But in the case of France the case.

“The normal process of decision-making?”

On 8 June the upper house – the Senate – by an overwhelming majority (302 in favor, 16 against) adopted a resolution calling for the gradual relief of sanctions against Russia in parallel with the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The senators thus supported the deputies of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, who in April called for the lifting of sanctions. Moreover, the resolution of the National Assembly was maintained even in a more decisive tone.

On June 20 the French foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced that Paris stands for, the debate on the European Union sanctions against Russia at the summit, which will be held June 28-29 in Brussels.

Ayrault is not the only head of diplomacy of European States, who made a similar appeal. This Monday the Minister of foreign Affairs of Austria Sebastian Kurz said that the EU should start to seek common ground with Russia. 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 in the case that Berlin will see the progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements”.

However, as assured by the European diplomatic source its Ukrainian counterpart of “UKRINFORM”, the fact that France is not in a hurry to approve the EU’s decision on sanctions is “normal decision-making process”.

The diplomat explained: the EU has until the end of July to finally legally approved the continuation for the next six months the actions of the sectoral economic sanctions against Russia in response to “aggression against Ukraine” (as conveyed the words of the European diplomat Ukrainian edition).

“As a grunt Granny in bus”

Leading researcher of the Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences, specialist in the EU Alexander Kamkin said in an interview with the newspaper VIEW that the delay of the decision on the introduction of new sanctions associated including the political fight for the presidency in France. We will remind, elections of the head of the Fifth Republic will be held next year.

What are the plans for the replacement of imported Russian goods”Nicolas Sarkozy at the recent International economic forum in St. Petersburg clearly took the Pro-Russian position. She is in demand among French businessmen. Hence, the attempt of Paris to maneuver to show his alleged independence from the General line of the West. However, Paris will not be able to resist, moreover, France advocates new sanctions. It’s like a nagging old Granny on the bus”, – concluded the analyst.

The impact on the wallet

“The anti-sanctions are also representatives of French businesses, both large and medium. In short, the French position is the need to gradually move away from the sanctions”, – stated in comments to the newspaper VIEW expert on France, leading the Center for social problems Sergey Fedorov. The reason for this discontent is obvious.

As previously reported to the edition “Kommersant” the trade representative of Russia in France Alexander Tours, the result of Russia’s retaliatory sanctions, the export of agricultural products from France fell by about 200 million euros.

The Director of the Center for Eurasian studies Vladimir Kornilov, commenting on the portal”.<url>” the call of the French Parliament to lift the sanctions, stated: “kontrsanktsy” in the middle of last year, the damage to the French pig industry amounted to 100 million euros, the losses incurred by fruit and vegetable producers – 50 million euros, the dairy industry – more than 109 million euros. In August 2015, assessing the results of the annual actions of the Russian retaliatory sanctions, the Union of European farmers and agricultural cooperatives, Copa-Cogeca stated that the damage to the farmers of the EU amounted to 5.5 billion euros.

According to the Russian trade representative in France of Alexander Turov, the impact on the European economy from its own sanctions amounted to 100 billion euros and more than 1 million jobs lost.

“Urges, but are unlikely to stop”

France somehow trying by his actions to call on Europe to revise the sanctions policy against Russia, says Sergei Fedorov. The expert recalled that “the French leaders spoke against sanctions.” Prime Minister Manuel Valls without the approval spoke about the situation caused by the anti-Russian restrictions. Economy Minister Emmanuel macron at the end of January predicted that sanctions can be revoked by the summer.

The interviewee said: one can hardly expect that in a short time thanks to the position of French can count on the collapse of EU sanctions. “France because of their own interests alone will not go against the whole of Europe. The view of countries opposed to sanctions does not outweigh the single opinion of the EU and European bureaucracy on sanctions. In Europe, dominates the view persistent Russophobia, Poland, Sweden, the Baltic countries,” – said the expert.

Similar opinion is shared by Alexander Kamkin. “France can not stop sanctions against Russia. Moreover, Paris can not openly speak against them, – said the expert. – It is fraught with political damage that can not go unpopular President Francois Hollande. On the other hand, in France there are different points of view on sanctions against Moscow. Thus, the French are trying to show their attitude to sanctions, while simultaneously not making any sudden moves that would not like the United States.”

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