Time to reflect on rationality of EU's sanctions against Russia
The European Union is considering a new round of sanctions against Russia over and above the 11 rounds that have already been imposed after the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out in February last year.
A recent Bloomberg report says the new sanctions are aimed at cracking down on Russia's ability to circumvent existing sanctions through third countries.
The EU's executive arm proposed a ban on importers reselling certain items, such as semiconductors used in weapons or needed to make them, to Russia and required them to put a sum of money into an escrow account to ensure compliance.
At least half of this money would be transferred to a trust fund in Ukraine and the contract would be terminated if those rules were violated. Exporters are also obliged to notify their national authorities of any violations by companies in third countries.
However, diplomats from some major EU member states raised concerns over the proposal. Some EU members also want to reduce the number of goods that can be covered, fearing the new proposal will put European companies at a disadvantage.
Bloomberg previously reported that the new sanctions may involve 5 billion euros ($5.47 billion) of trade. It said the EU is considering banning exports of welding machines, chemicals and technologies that can be used for military purposes, and restricting imports of processed metals and aluminum products, as well as diamonds. The bloc is also considering adding more goods to the ban list and bringing relevant companies in third countries under the sanctions.
The Wall Street Journal quoted EU officials as saying the EU executive body issued a new round of sanctions against Russia on Nov 14, but diplomats said it could take weeks for all 27 member states to adopt the measures.
The 11 rounds of sanctions the EU has imposed on Russia cover energy, economy, trade and other areas. However, according to Russia's official statistics service Rosstat, the country's gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 5.5 percent in the third quarter of 2023, which is better than its previous official assessment. Amundi, Europe's largest asset manager, recently forecast Russia's economy would grow three times faster than the eurozone in 2024.