Russia

Russia: EU prolongs economic sanctions by six months | European Council – Press Release

On 19 December 2016, the Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2017.

These measures were introduced on 31 July 2014 initially for one year in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine. They were reinforced in September 2014. They target the financial, energy and defence sectors, and the area of dual-use goods.

On 19 March 2015, the European Council agreed to link the duration of the sanctions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, which was foreseen to take place by 31 December 2015.

Since the Minsk agreements were not fully implemented by 31 December 2015, the Council extended the sanctions until 31 July 2016, and on 1 July 2016, until 31 January 2017. Having assessed the implementation of the Minsk agreements at the European Council meeting of 15 December, the EU heads of state and government paved the way to renew the sanctions for a further six months, until 31 July 2017. The Council formalised this decision on 19 December 2016 by written procedure and as it is the rule for all decisions on prolongation of restrictive measures, unanimously.

The economic sanctions prolonged by this decision notably:

  • limit access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for 5 major Russian majority state-owned financial institutions and their majority-owned subsidiaries established outside of the EU, as well as three major Russian energy and three defence companies
  • impose an export and import ban on trade in arms
  • establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia
  • curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services  that can be used for oil production and exploration

In addition to these economic sanctions, several EU measures are also in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine including:

  • targeted individual restrictive measures, namely a visa ban and an asset freeze, currently against 152 people and 37 entities until 15 March 2017;
  • restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2017.
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Trilateral gas talks between the European Commission, Russia and Ukraine on Friday in Brussels | European Commission – Announcements

Tomorrow, Friday, in Brussels, the European Commission is hosting a trilateral meeting with Russia and Ukraine on gas deliveries and gas transit. The talks, which will be chaired by Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, will be attended by Russia’s and Ukraine’s Ministers for Energy, Alexander Novak and Ihor Nasalyk, as well as top representatives of Naftogaz and Gazprom. The talks are scheduled to start at 1pm Brussels time. “I welcome the preparedness and commitment of both countries to meet here in Brussels for the gas trilaterals. Given the importance of energy relations between the European Union, Russia and Ukraine, continued dialogue is of great importance. I look forward to the trilateral talks, aiming to contribute at ensuring predictable and stable gas deliveries throughout the winter season”, said Vice-President Šefčovič ahead of the talks. There will be a press release issued upon conclusion of the meeting.

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WTO confirms Russian import duties violate WTO rules | European Commission – Daily News

The World Trade Organisation confirmed that Russian import duties on paper, refrigerators and palm oil violate its rules, following the dispute settlement procedure activated by the EU. The import duties exceed those Russia agreed to when it joined the WTO. This is the first case ever decided in the WTO against Russia. Despite being a WTO member since August 2012, Russia has not yet fulfilled some of its commitments made before its accession.  This includes one of the WTO’s most fundamental rules, according to which its members must not apply customs duties in excess of the ‘bound rates’ they commit themselves to in their respective Schedules. The WTO panel fully agreed that Russia’s customs duties on paper, refrigerators and palm oil are inconsistent with its WTO commitments.

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The EU imposes definitive anti-dumping duties on steel product from China and Russia | European Commission – Daily News

The EU today imposed definitive anti-dumping measures on a steel product from China and Russia. These duties will be in place for five years and for the first time they will also be levied retroactively on imports registered during the two months that preceded the adoption of provisional measures on 12 February 2016. The product at stake is “cold rolled steel”, an industrial input for the packaging, white goods, general industry, automotive industry and the construction industry. The investigation was initiated on 14 May 2015 following a complaint submitted by the industry. The duties range from 19.7% to 22.1% for Chinese and from 18.7% to 36.1% for Russian companies.In the wake of the global steel overcapacity crisis, the Commission is applying the trade defence instruments to re-establish a level-playing field between EU and foreign producers. The EU currently has over 100 trade defence measures in place, 37 of them targeting unfair imports of steel products, 15 of which from China. 12 more investigations concerning steel products are still ongoing. The full details of the decision can be found here.

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Ukraine: four crises, one country | EUobserver Neighbourhood Policy blog

For most of the last two decades virtually every Ukrainian election or opinion poll has displayed two Ukraines – one Western-leaning and another looking to Moscow; one voting Timoshenko or Yushchenko and another pro Yanukovich; one against Putin and another in favour of him. Unsurprisingly, many feared that the ousting of Yanukovich, the Russian annexation of Crimea, and the infiltration of eastern Ukraine by Russian military intelligence would lead Ukraine to split in two or collapse altogether like a house of cards.

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Ukraine: Poroshenko poised to sign trade pact with EU | euronews

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said he would personally sign an association agreement with the European Union on June 27. He told reporters that will decisively shift Ukraine away from Russia’s influence and rule out joining a Moscow-led customs union. “That’s what we have been waiting so long for, what millions of Ukrainians wanted to achieve and what they’ve been fighting for over the last six months. And I am sure it will take place next week,” said Poroshenko. Earlier, the parliament in Kyiv confirmed Ukraine’s next foreign minister will be the current Ambassador to Germany Pavlo Klimkin.

More on this story: Ukraine: Poroshenko poised to sign trade pact with EU

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EVENT HIGHLIGHTS: “The relationship between Europe and its Eastern neighbourhood at a turning point?” (8 April)

On Tuesday 8th of April, at the premises of Science14 Atrium in Brussels, PubAffairs Bruxelles hosted a debate concerning the relationship between Europe and its Eastern neighbourhood. The event was moderated by Mr Rikard Jozwiak, Brussels Correspondent for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, while the discussants were Mr Tomasz Orlowski, Head of Section of EU Foreign Policy and External Action, Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU, Mr Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Adviser on External relations, President Schulz’s Cabinet, Mr Konstantinos Vardakis, Deputy Head of Division,  Eastern  Partnership, regional cooperation & OSCE, European External Action Service.

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Photo Album: Debate – The relationship between Europe and its Eastern neighbourhood at a turning point? (8 April)

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Thank you for attending our debate “The relationship between Europe and its Eastern neighbourhood at a turning point?”

PubAffairs Bruxelles was delighted to host on April 8th the debate between our distinguished speakers, Mr Tomasz Orlowski, Head of Section of EU Foreign Policy and External Action, Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU, Mr Arnoldas Pranckevicius, Adviser on External relations, President Schulz’s Cabinet, Mr Konstantinos Vardakis, Deputy Head of Division, Eastern Partnership, regional cooperation & OSCE, EEAS.

We would like to thank our distinguished guests, our moderator, Rikard Jozwiak, Brussels Correspondent for Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the public and Science 14 Atrium, for allowing this debate to take place.

PubAffairs Bruxelles is also pleased to announce that the next event will take place in June 2014. We hope that all the contributors, attendees, as well as our present and future members will join us in the next debate.

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Invitation – Debate: “The relationship between Europe and its Eastern neighbourhood at a turning point?” (8 April)

We are most pleased to invite you to participate in an evening of discussion on the relationship between Europe and its Eastern neighbourhood with Mr Tomasz Orlowski, Head of Section of EU Foreign Policy and External Action, Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU, Mr Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Adviser on External relations, President Schulz’s Cabinet, Mr Konstantinos Vardakis, Deputy Head of Division, Eastern Partnership, regional cooperation & OSCE, EEAS, on the 8th of April at the premises of Science 14 Atrium


The debate will be moderated by Rikard Jozwiak, Brussels Correspondent for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)


The relationship between Europe and its Eastern neighbourhood at a turning point?

In March 2014, both at the extraordinary meeting of the EU Heads of State or Government and during the European Parliament’s plenary session, the assessment and the priorities setting of EU relations with the Eastern Partnership countries attracted particular attention due to the fragility and the potential far-reaching consequences of the current political, economic and social processes underway in that area. Shortly before such institutional discussions, The Economist published an essay in which the authors stated that “between 1980 and 2000 the cause of democracy experienced only a few setbacks, but since 2000 there have been many”. The essay also emphasised the fact that “democracy is going through a difficult time. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes. Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife. Yet just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world”.

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