Step-by-Step Rapprochement – Germany Considers Easing of Russia Sanctions

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Matthias Gebauer, Christiane Hoffmann, Peter Müller, Ruben Rehage, Michael Sauga and Christoph Schult, May 30, 2016.

Standing tough on Russia remains official policy, but Germany has begun working on the careful easing of sanctions imposed following Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. The US is opposed, but many in the EU could support the new approach … //

… Chancellery Changing Course:  

The Chancellery also supports the new approach. Thus far, it was the Social Democrats that were particularly vocal about rapprochement with Russia. Led by Economics Minister Gabriel, the SPD is Merkel’s junior coalition partner. While Steinmeier, also a senior SPD member, has never explicitly demanded the easing of sanctions, he has long supported Russia’s return to the G-7. Merkel, by contrast, had always maintained a hard line. Now, though, the Chancellery also appears to be changing course.

The plan is to lift initial sanctions in return for Moscow’s cooperation on planned local elections in eastern Ukraine. Berlin is not looking at lifting those financial sector penalties that are particularly painful to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nor is there a willingness to revisit the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. But eliminating travel restrictions imposed on certain select individuals, such as members of the Russian parliament, could be considered. Another approach under examination is that of simply reducing the interval for extending the sanctions from six months to three months.

Berlin’s argument is that, in a Europe where those in favor of sanctions and those opposed to sanctions are drifting ever further apart, it is necessary to find a way to keep the EU on the same page. Two weeks ago, Steinmeier warned that, with Brussels set to vote on an extension of the penalties soon, resistance to doing so is growing within Europe. It is becoming more difficult, he said, to arrive at a uniform EU position on the issue, which is necessary since the sanctions extension must be passed unanimously. The German line is that Putin must not be given the impression that he can divide the EU.

“The highest priority is that of preserving the EU consensus,” says Gernot Erler of the SPD, who is the German government’s special coordinator for Russia policy. “If we have to pay a price for that, we should be prepared to do so. The worst outcome would be the disintegration of European unity and the EU losing its role.”

In Brussels, the European Council, the powerful body representing the leaders of the 28 EU member states, and the European Commission, the EU executive, are staying firm officially: Only after the Minsk Protocol has been 100 percent fulfilled can sanctions be lifted. That is the approach passed unanimously last year and extended for six months last December.

European Council President Donald Tusk said last Thursday at the G-7 in Japan that he was “quite sure” that a decision to renew the sanctions would be made “in the next two or three weeks without huge discussions.” Tusk is opposed to putting the issue on the agenda for the EU summit scheduled for the end of June, preferring instead to have sanctions discussed by EU ambassadors in Brussels.

Questioning the Sanctions Regime: … //

… A Dangerous Precedent: … //

… Meaningless Dialogue? … //

… As such, Berlin’s new approach to Russia is not without risk. Indeed, even if the EU agrees collectively to pursue such a course in relation to Moscow, there is a danger that Russia will simply reject it as being too little, too late.

(full text).


The State of the Left – Many Movements, Too Many Goals? on Counterpunch, by on Jacobs, May 30, 2016: the Sanders campaign has proven a couple of important things about today’s political reality in the United States …;

Suisse – Votations du 5 juin: La participation reste loin des derniers scrutins, dans Tribune de Genève, le 30 mai 2016:

Tout est disrupté, même les rites de passage, dans Le, le 29 mai 2016;

Nuit debout – Boulogne perdure, même en comité restreint, dans La Voix du Nord, par Emmanuelle Dupeux, le 29 mai 2016;

VIDEO: Google hangout event with Basic Income researcher Jurgen De Wispelaere, May 28;

Un menu de votations fédérales très varié le 5 juin, dans SWI, le 28 mai 2016;

Money for nothing, on SWI, May 27, 2016;

A few thoughts on universal basic income and the deep human need for work, May 27;

UNITED STATES: Ex-CIA officer Bryan Wright proposes data mining royalties, on BIEN, by Kate McFarland, May 27, 2016;

France – Loi sur le travail: Appel à vous tous les politiques, il faut sortir de cette crise par le haut, dans, par Pierre Sarramagnan-Souchier, le 27 mai 2016;

Suisse: Une seule taxe peut supprimer tous les impôts, dans La Liberté.ch, le 27 mai 2016;

Une fausse bonne idée, dans La Liberté, par PIERRE-ANDRÉ SIEBER, le 27 mai 2016;

Une entreprise sans hiérarchie, c’est possible, dans Reporterre, par Émilie Massemin, le 27 nai 2016;

Four Algoma U Social Work Students to Present at Alberta Conference, on Sault Online, May 27, 2016;

Money For Nothing and Your Checks for Free – Joel Anderson, on BIEN, by Kate McFarland, May 26, 2016;

Giving people free money could be the only solution when robots finally take our jobs – Chris Welleer, on BIEN, by Kate McFarland, May 26, 2016;

Keen on being paid Rs 1.7 lakh a month to do nothing? on sify finance, May 26, 2016;

Rémi Mogenet: L’égalité dans le droit à l’éducation, dans Tribune de Genève, le 26 mai 2016;

Saudia Arabia and Iran: The Cold War of Islam, on Spiegel Online International, by , May 9, 2016 (Photo Gallery): the archenemies Iran and Saudi Arabia are battling for supremacy in the Middle East and are carrying out their struggle in proxy wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. Domestically, though, the two countries are facing remarkably similar problems;

Secret Places On Earth – in China, United States, Russia, India, 44.28 min, uploaded by hat soft, Jan 24, 2016;

The hole in the Ocean and Mysteries, 44.52 min, uploaded by Discovery Documentary HD, June 15, 2015;

The Discovery of 1,750,000 Year Old Man Made Bridge, 10.29 min, upladed by Disclosure Discovery, Dec 17, 2014 … currently named as Adam’s Bridge and made of a chain of shoals, 30 km long, in the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka …;

… and this:

Comments are closed.