EU Unlikely to Impose New Economic Sancions Against RussiaEU | March 13, 2015, Friday // 21:47| views
Slovak Prime minister Robert Fico arrives at European summit of heads of states and government at EU Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 12 February 2015. Photo: EPA
European Union (EU) leaders are unlikely to reach an agreement on the prolongation of economic sanctions against Russia at their forthcoming summit next week.
The current sanctions, which are expiring in July, are not likely to be extended as long as the Minsk ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is observed, EurActiv reports.
However some member states had insisted on the extension of sanctions on Russia's financial, energy and defence sectors.
While EU leaders will likely discuss sanctions at the forthcoming summit, it is expected that most of them will postpone discussions for their renewal until July.
In order for sanctions to be imposed they have to be approved unanimously by all 28 member states.
Meanwhile, Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Friday that new or renewed EU sanctions against Russia will not be beneficial for the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
Fico had previously criticised sanctions as “meaningless and counterproductive”, which shows their divisive nature among member states.
Slovakia's Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak revealed that the predominant view in the EU was that sanctions “should remain in place in their current form for the time being”.
EU member states agreed on Friday to extend sanctions against Ukrainian and Russian citizens and companies accused of compromising Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
The asset freezes and travel bans on 150 people and 37 companies were extended for another six months and will last until September.
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