EU sanctions on Russia may be mitigated in March 2015 - newspaper

The EU sanctions on Russia will be reviewed on October 28, at a Brussels meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) but one may expect the sanctions to be mitigated only in 2015, Kommersant wrote on Tuesday.

The EU sanctions on Russia will be reviewed on October 28, at a Brussels meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) but one may expect the sanctions to be mitigated only in 2015, Kommersant wrote on Tuesday.

"Russia will have a chance to reverse the momentum some time around March 15, 2015. The thing is that the decision the European Council made on March 17, 2014, to launch the first package of sanctions on Russia says the restrictions will be in effect until September 17 (practically every other round related to the sanctions was a mere addition to this resolution). Then, in early September, the European Council unanimously extended the package until March 15," the newspaper said.

The EU will need a unanimous decision to extend the sanctions after March 15, the newspaper emphasized.

However, sources in EU structures told Kommersant they were confident there would be no consensus.

If the Ukrainian situation is more or less stable, some EU countries will choose not to fully extend the sanctions on Russia and will demand their mitigation; many EU members are especially discontent with the latest package of sanctions (dated September 12), which took effect after the endorsement of the Minsk agreements, i.e. after the Ukrainian situation started to normalize, a source told the newspaper.

A European diplomat told the newspaper that Finland, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg and, probably, some others would object to the extension of the full sanctions in March.

Restrictions related to the Crimean issue will remain valid, but the others may be mitigated or lifted unless the Ukrainian situation escalates again; however, the chances of the sanctions being revised before March are slim, the source said.

Another source told Kommersant that Matteo Renzi, the Prime Minister of Italy, which currently holds the European Union presidency, said at an EU summit last week that it was already necessary to mitigate the sanctions. His proposal caused objections from several countries, among them Poland, Sweden and the Baltic republics.

Given the situation, it was decided that the traditional Russia-EU summit this winter should not be held, he said.

Read more: Purpose of sanctions is unclear for many Russians>>>

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