Monday, May 30, 2016

Germany Hopes To Ease Anti-Russia Sanctions 'to Rescue EU Unity'

Having done more over the past decade to destroy European Unity (which was always something of a fairy tale anyway), Angela Merkel now wants to rescue it.

Hausfrau Volksfuhrer Merkel is not leading a bid by German politicians to devise a plan to lift the anti-Russian economic sanctions the USA's Obama administration bullied the EU into supporting. Berlin plans to abolish a range of trade restrictions imposed at Obama's insistence after Russia annexed Crimea following ethnic cleansing of Russian speakers in the area by the US backed regime in Kiev. Germany hopes that in exchange for removing sanctions Moscow's assistance in the organization of the local elections in Eastern Ukraine will be secured, according to Der Spiegel.

Crimea - in dark red - was traditionally part of Russia until the 1950s, when Ukraine was still a Soviet Republic

In August 2014, the EU and the US imposed economic sanctions on Russia, accusing Moscow of fueling civil conflict between pro Russian rebels and the neo - Nazi regime put in place after a CIA backed coup deposed the democratically elected government. Russian authorities have repeatedly denied the allegations and in response introduced a food embargo that negatively affected the economies of a number of European countries. In other words, while Obama's sanctions have not affected the USA which has very little trade with Russia, and has been a minor inconvenience to Russia because they can get what they need from non EU countries, a lot of smaller EU nations with fragile economies have suffered damaging effects.

(Sarcasm alert) This if a typical Obama administration foreign policy triumph.

Until now, Germany's position on the removal of imposed restrictions has been not until the Minsk agreements are fully implemented, the article said. Now, however, Berlin is willing to make concessions and ease sanctions if the countries are able to reach at least some progress in the Minsk process. antagonising Russia has hurt Germany, already beset with massive domestic problems, too.

"I have always held the position that the sanctions are not a goal in itself. The easing of sanctions can be discussed if visible progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements is achieved," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is quoted as saying.

According to the magazine, Berlin is likely to unilaterally lift some sanctions in exchange for Moscow's assistance in the organization of local elections in Eastern Ukraine. However, the move will probably include the removal of a travel ban rather than restrictions which are of actual importance for Russia, such as financial sanctions or sanctions imposed with regard to Crimea.

"In this way, Germany seeks to maintain EU unity and to reconcile the supporters and opponents of the sanctions," the magazine wrote. A few weeks ago we reported that the resistance within EU, mostly among the Visigard group natioons, against the continuation of sanctions is growing. It is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve a common position on this issue, he said. According to the magazine, the most important goal for the German government is to keep unity within the EU so that the Russian President does not get the impression that he can split European countries.

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