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The next revision of Europe’s Russian sanctions could be coming as soon as next week, although the measures won’t be as strong as originally intended, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.
The European Commission had plans to tighten up the loopholes in the existing sanctions, and put out its proposal last month. The members of the coalition were expected to be signed off on sometime between May 19 and 21, but the proposal to beef up sanctions against Russia wasn’t without dissension, prompting additional negotiations and revisions to the proposal.
The proposal to upgrade the sanctions, as originally designed, was to be tougher across several areas, including targeting third countries that are not going far enough to make sure Russia is following existing sanctions. The measures would have been a deterrent to countries who were either assisting Russia with its sanctions-busting trade, or even who were turning a blind eye to Russia’s skirting of the sanctions. The targets would have seen restrictions on exports of key goods. But the revised sanctions watered this measure down, opting to hold companies and not countries responsible, Reuters sources suggested.
Other measures in the proposal included trade restrictions for Chinese firms that have allegedly shipped banned goods to Russia, banning goods from traveling through Russia, and halting Russia’s oil flows through the northern part of the Druzhba pipeline.
Reuters sources said that the EU Commission is looking to have member states sign off on the revised proposal as early as next week.
Europe has found itself the subject of criticism over its Russian sanctions, which some have argued have too many loopholes for Russia to wander through as it attempts to continue its oil and gas trade regardless of the actions taken against it.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.