Friday, September 5, 2014

Slovakia Asks EU to Cut Sanctions Against Russia

Slovakia speaks against some sanctions against Russia, proposed by the European Union, according to the Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico. “We have addressed the EU, asking them to remove some clauses from the sanctions proposal. We want a number of products included in the list to be exempt from sanctions, so that we can continue exporting them to Russia,” Fico said during press conference after a special meeting dedicated to the discussion of new EU sanctions against Russia. The ministers, who took part in a meeting, spoke against proposed export ban on goods that can have both military and civilian use, aimed for Russian private companies. 
According to the ministers, some Slovak machine-tool makers may become bankrupt if sanctions become effective. Earlier, Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that Prague will submit comments on the new European Union’s sanctions proposal, as they could trigger high economic losses for his country. According to Sobotka, “escalation of sanctions is a very risky business.” Over the past few months, the United States and the European Union introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against the Russian economy, unjustifiably blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, the United States persuaded its allies to add Russian individuals and entities to their own blacklists. On August 30, at the EU Summit in Brussels, European leaders urged the European Commission to create proposals for new economic sanctions against Russia within one week. In August, Moscow was pushed to introduce protective measures banning for a year the import of agricultural and food products from countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia. Russia has repeatedly referred to the language of sanctions “counterproductive,” saying that such measures “threaten international peace and stability.”

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