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Will Europe hesitate on the new anti-Russia sanctions?

Will Europe hesitate on the new anti-Russia sanctions?

Federico Guiglia's notebook

Embargo or non-embargo, that is the question. Europe is taking time on the sixth package of sanctions against Putin, which should include the decision to limit the import of oil from Moscow. The meeting of the 27 EU ambassadors remains convened for today, but it is not certain that the text to tighten the measures against Russia will be on the agenda. There is talk of other consultations in sight between the European Commission and governments before making the choice loudly desired by Ukraine. A choice, however, still insufficient for President Zelensky, who calls for a total blockade of Russian imports into Europe – including gas, which represents 45 percent – as an economic weapon to weaken the main source of financing for the war.

We are not an afterthought. But the possible slippage of a decision which, moreover, will have a gradual impact, that is, months before obtaining results, reveals the divisions on a strategic issue: energy.

Above all, Germany is holding back, having imported a third of its oil needs from Russia last year. And being the nation most dependent on Moscow for gas. Even more than Italy, which in 2021 imported 38.2 per cent of what was needed.

But country you go, need you find. The possible blockade of Moscow's nuclear fuel would have repercussions in particular for the nations of the East. As well as the exclusion of other Russian banks from the Swift international payment system and new measures to restrict Russian travel and activities in Europe would have different effects depending on the country. Think, for example, of the already collapsed Russian tourism in Italy. A market that before Covid recorded the presence of 1.7 million visitors in 2019 alone.

It is clear that any national interest must be well evaluated and, in the case of economic damage due to sanctions, compensated with a specific European fund. No boomerang measures for anyone.

However, it is the overall vision that makes Europe strong. Energy, like defense, foreign policy and technology, is proof that the EU has become aware of itself, as the confirmation of the European Macron in France also testifies.

The EU cannot hesitate on sanctions, just now that it is discovering the importance of its unity and the decline of Euroscepticism.

Published in The Arena of Verona, Il Giornale di Vicenza and Bresciaoggi

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/europa-russia-nuove-sanzioni/ on Wed, 27 Apr 2022 07:20:11 +0000.