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hasAfter reaching a political agreement on the matter on Wednesday, EU member states formally approved the eighth round of sanctions against Russia in response to the escalation of the war in Ukraine. Details of the new sanctions will appear in the EU’s Official Journal in the coming hours.
Obstacles were recognized at lightning speed. A week ago, they were proposed by the European Commission. It is “a series of painful measures designed to increase pressure on the Russian government and economy, weaken Russia’s military influence and make the Kremlin pay for its latest expansion,” read the council’s (member states’) communication. Thursday. The definitive trigger for the eighth round of sanctions was the “escalation” caused by Russia’s organization of annexation referendums in Ukraine, the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russians and the ‘new threat of nuclear weapons deployment’.
On Monday, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croix expressed concern about the ban on hemicycles. According to him, the sanctions adopted so far did not fail to have an impact on the EU itself, but were “general”. “But as we go further with new sanctions, the asymmetric impact in some areas will be greater,” he said, referring to the uneven effects felt in different member states. “So I ask cautiously (…), perhaps we should act with transitional arrangements or on the basis of departmental responsibilities. »
According to well-informed sources, Belgium – under the influence of the Walloon region – would have expressed its concerns about new restrictions on Russian steel trade during discussions at the European level. Our country is calling for a change. It is no coincidence that PS vice president André Flahaut mentioned the risk of factory closures on Monday. “It is clear that if we approve this eighth round of sanctions, two factories of (Russian steel company) NLMK in Clabecque and La Louviere in Belgium will be directly affected,” he said.
What is forbidden?
Nevertheless, the Russian steel industry has indeed been targeted by new sanctions. For example, imports of finished and semi-finished steel products from Russia to Europe will be prohibited, although there will be a transition period for some semi-finished products.
In total, the new trade restrictions are expected to have an economic impact of around 7 billion euros on the Russian economy. Besides steel, other banned imports from Russia to Europe are paper, pulp, jewellery, machinery, plastics and vehicles. On the other hand, new electronic components and firearms for civilian use can no longer be exported from Europe, and certain consultancy and legal advice services will be prohibited.
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