EU sanctions will have a significant impact on the economies of Russia and Belarus, but EU leaders said after the first working day of the two-day EU summit in Brussels on Friday that the loopholes for austerity should be closed.
In the final statement adopted at the EU summit, member leaders stressed that sanctions could effectively overturn Russia’s ability to continue its aggression against Ukraine, but that action must be widely pursued.
The European Council has called on Moscow to suspend attacks as a war crime, allow humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians, provide humanitarian assistance and release hostages.
Leaders of EU member states have stated that those responsible for the invasion of Ukraine and their accomplices must be brought to justice under international law. They pledged to meet the immediate needs of the Ukrainian government and to support the rebuilding of a democratic Ukraine after the war. The European Commission has called for continued technical assistance to Ukraine to implement the necessary democratic reforms. The EU Commission was encouraged to finalize a plan to support member states that provide refugees as soon as possible so that EU funding can be mobilized as soon as possible.
An EU official called for his name to be withheld, and European leaders held an hour-and-a-half debate with US President Joe Biden. They urged Washington and the European Union to coordinate their austerity measures, especially to thwart efforts to avoid them.
After the adoption of the fourth embargo on the Russian economy last week, the leaders did not decide to take new ones, but he pointed out that they are working on further measures.
Through a video link, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky, who attended a meeting of EU heads of state and heads of state, said the war with Russia was a conflict of values, proving that Ukraine deserves EU membership. The Ukrainian president thanked the EU for its military and humanitarian support, but stressed the EU’s slow response and the delay in imposing further sanctions on Moscow, especially in the Russian energy sector, which “feeds Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military apparatus”. .
At a press conference, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Groo stressed the importance of implementing sanctions and the need to close potential loopholes to avoid austerity measures.
He said any new sanctions would hit Russia harder than the EU.
“The basic rule is that sanctions should have a greater impact on the Russian side than on the European side. We are not at war with ourselves,” he said.
He added that the EU’s goal was to reduce Russia’s gas imports in order to end funding for the war. However, he added that the imposition of new energy measures would have a major impact on European economies.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said after the meeting that the leaders of the member states were discussing the introduction of possible new sanctions, but did not outline further sanctions on Thursday night. “The ban on Russian energy imports will be supported by all member states, but this is not possible in the short term,” he said.
He also stressed the need to diversify Europe’s energy imports before the introduction of the energy boycott, but this will take time. He said it could take weeks or even months for Germany and some Eastern European countries to sign agreements with other oil suppliers, and in the case of natural gas, it would take even longer.