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 Economic sanctions against Russia to be extended until the end of 2015 – EU Council decision

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The European Council made a political decision that sectoral economic sanctions against the Russian Federation will continue at least until the end of the year.

This is stated in the published decision of the EU Council, Censor.NET reports citing Ekonomichna Pravda.

The key news is in item 2 of the decision. Despite the claims of a significant number of European leaders that they do not intend to extend the sanctions, ultimately a political decision to extend the regime at least until the end of 2015 was made.

You may note that the decision of the EU summit is not legally binding and is still "to be confirmed".

Meanwhile, it poses no threat to 'disrupting sanctions.'

Read also: Sanctions against Russia will not be lifted until Minsk accords fully implemented - Tusk

According to the procedure in force in the European Union, any decision of the summit should be confirmed by another body of the European Union - the EU Council.

Postponement of the decision for "a few months" poses no danger either. The economic sanctions expire only in the end of July, thus there is no reason to rush with their extension.

Some other items of the EU Council's decision are also important. In particular, the Council recognized the efforts of the government on the issue of reforms. This is probably the first public argument in favor of the Yatseniuk's government. Until now, Brussels mostly voiced criticism about the lack of speed of reforms.

Read also: Europe will not lift sanctions on Russia until conditions of Minsk agreement have been met - Merkel

Finally, the European Union has officially recognized the existence of problems with the Russian propaganda machine.

Significant efforts and resources of the European countries will now be aimed at combating this component of the 'hybrid war'.

Below is the complete decision of the European Council (EU Summit):

1. The European Council called on all parties to promptly and fully implement the Minsk Agreement, to fulfill their commitments, and emphasized the responsibility of the Russian side in this regard.

The EU stands ready to support this process, in particular with regard to improving the capabilities and capacities of the OSCE in monitoring and verifying the implementation of the Minsk agreements and will continue efforts in the framework of the tripartite processes (negotiations with the participation of Russia) on energy issues and implementing the Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

2. The European Council decided that the duration of the restrictive measures against the Russian Federation, adopted July 31, 2014 and reinforced Sept. 8, 2014 (economic sectoral sanctions against the Russian Federation - ed.) should be clearly linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, considering that [their implementation] is expected only by Dec. 31, 2015.

The necessary decisions (on the extension of sanctions -ed.) will be made in the coming months. The European Council is ready to take further restrictive measures, if necessary.

3. The European Council does not recognize and continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and remains true to its decision to embody a policy of non-recognition.


4. The EU will continue to support the reform process in Ukraine, together with other donors and in accordance with the terms of the IMF. The European Council called for the immediate adoption of the third package of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine (currently considered by the European Parliament - ed.).

The Council recognized the efforts of the government of Ukraine in carrying out reforms and urged it to intensify this activity.

5. The European Council stressed the need to challenge the current disinformation campaign being waged by Russia and invited the High Representative in cooperation with EU member states and institutions to prepare an action plan by June for strategic communications.

Creating a communications team is a first step in this direction.


 
 
 
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