EU leaders have agreed to a new embargo against Russia, which has divided Europe: the majority believes the embargo will slowly weaken the Russian economy, but some states argue that they will not be in pain to deter Putin from further aggression.
At the suggestion of France, Germany and Italy, they were concerned about their trade agreements and did not want the EU to use ultimate weapons or end Russian access to the SWIFT international payment system. This decision has been criticized by analysts.
Fabian Suleigh, European Political Center: “If Russia can no longer actively participate in the international financial system, it will have a huge impact.
Imports of oil and gas are also on the table. This means that Moscow’s main source of income will still be intact.
Abandoning Swift and Energy from the embargo package – for now – means that the banks can still finance the sale of oil and gas and that Putin can still finance the Russian military.
Instead, European leaders opted for moderate sanctions that would impose costs on Russia in the medium term, but would not immediately affect Moscow’s economy.
Michael Martin, Irish Prime Minister: “Over time, these sanctions will have an impact.
The economic embargo is expected to affect 70% of the Russian banking sector.
Export restrictions include a ban on semiconductors and airbus spare parts, which means that Russian airlines will face major difficulties in the medium term due to the crash of their aircraft.
Overall, EU leaders expect sanctions to mean a slow erosion of living standards, which could fuel popular discontent and threaten the Putin administration, which is already facing frequent protests.
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