‘EU foreign policy prisoner to US threats’

The EU is trapped between anti-Russian members and threats to European companies

EU foreign policy has become a prisoner of the United States, trapped and forced to impose and maintain sanctions against Russia, prominent French economist Jacques Sapir told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

“The EU at first had no intention of moving to a sanctions regime as harsh as the US. But, the US trick was to let the threat of a possible move by the US against any EU company, doing business with Russia in US dollars hovering,” Sapir said.

Then, the EU ended up trapped between on one hand some EU countries (Poland and the Baltic countries) that are deeply anti-Russian and possible US threats against EU companies if they did not abide US sanctions. We could consider that EU foreign policy has been successfully captured by the United States.”

Late Tuesday, permanent representatives to the European Union decided against altering the existing sanctions regime against Russia.
Jacques Sapir explained that “it would be extremely difficult to cancel the sanctions “at least before a delay of 6 months.”

“To do that, the EU would have to build a “consensus” and if Poland and the Baltic countries don’t agree, sanctions could not be cancelled. But, we have to remind ourselves that the sanctions were put in place for 6 months. Once we reach this deadline (by early January 2015) the situation could evolve in another direction,” Sapir told RIA Novosti.

Sapir noted that “the sanctions process against Russia is the only way the EU could be seen to react to Russian policies on Crimea and Ukraine.” But the fact of using sanctions and “that European sanctions were, at first, only cosmetic” demonstrates the weakness of the European Union in facing the United States.

The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, a claim Moscow has repeatedly denied.

The latest round of sanctions came into effect on September 12, targeting Russian defense companies, alongside the country’s largest banks, energy companies and certain high profile individuals.