EU targets luxury goods, oligarchs and metals in new Russia sanctions – EURACTIV.com
The fourth EU sanctions package which will come into force on Tuesday March 15 is expected to target more oligarchs, ban the sale of luxury goods exports to Moscow and hit several defense companies.
Ambassadors to the EU agreed on the fourth sanctions package on Monday March 14 after Russia invaded Ukraine three weeks ago. The sanctions will be officially in place once they are published in the EU’s official journal later on Tuesday.
Sanctions should include a ban on imports of Russian steel and iron and a ban on EU companies’ participation in new investments in oil companies and the energy sector, according to a draft memo .
They will also include a ban on the export of luxury goods worth more than €300, including a ban on the export of luxury cars, boats and planes worth more than €50,000, which applies to models of several European car brands, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari and Porsche.
France’s EU Council presidency said Russia’s “most favored nation” trading status at the World Trade Organization (WTO) would also be revoked.
Apart from being a symbolic measure, this could open the door to further restrictions through customs duties and import quotas.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU was working to suspend Russia’s membership rights to key multilateral institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
This would allow the bloc to ban or impose punitive tariffs on Russian products, similar to what is done with North Korea or Iran.
The package will also add Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and 14 others to the EU’s list of sanctioned Russian billionaires, diplomats said earlier today.
Already last week, Abramovich faced sanctions in the UK, as did Russian industrialist Oleg Deripaska, who is currently not on the EU list.
Several Russian state-controlled media personalities are also expected to be on the new EU sanctions list.
In addition, nine companies, mainly active in the defense and military sectors, have been added.
Rosoboroneksport, the only Russian state broker in the trade of “dual-use” arms, goods and technologies (civilian and military), which over the past two decades has sold arms abroad for 180 billion dollars, should also be on the list. Another is shipbuilder Zelenodolsk Shipyar.
Apples of discord
However, eastern EU member states have pointed out that the sanctions package does not go far enough.
The main bone of contention is a potential oil or gas embargo, which is now only strongly demanded by Poland along with a small group of other EU member states.
One of the main problems with the now-agreed package was the speed and difficulty of proceeding with further sanctions.
“Our government’s ambitions were bigger than what was finally agreed,” Polish Ambassador to the EU Andrzej Sadoś told reporters after the meeting.
“It is becoming clearer day by day that three camps are forming: Poland and the Baltic states on one side, who want more and stronger sanctions,” said a Western European diplomat.
Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria on the other hand – the most ‘conservative’ camp, which favors its own economic interests – and the rest”, added the diplomat.
The conservative camp successfully demanded the relaxation of several sanctions on transactions with state-owned companies, they wanted exceptions for aluminum, copper, palladium and iron ore, in addition to avoiding sanctions in the energy sector, European sources said.
“It is therefore clear that today’s results were welcomed by the conservatives – who managed to obtain most of the above – because their economic interests were protected,” said another diplomat. EU.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]