EU has to foot the bill for anti-Russia sanctions – ex deputy PM
The European Union should compensate its citizens for the ‘energy pandemic’ resulting from anti-Russia sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, Italy’s former deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini said on Sunday.
Speaking to RTL radio, Salvini, a member of the Senate who leads the right-wing Lega Nord party, drew a parallel with financial stimulus packages during Covid lockdowns.
“Let Europe, as it happened during the pandemic, put up a shield, to protect families and businesses, and cover the extra bills families have to pay,” he said, adding that Brussels will need to adopt such measures to stave off mass unemployment.
Salvini also signalled his support for anti-Russia sanctions, despite their apparent inefficiency. He noted that his party has endorsed all kinds of support for Ukraine and condemned Russia’s military offensive. However, he pointed out that Moscow is raking in the profits from high oil and gas prices, while Europe is reeling from the energy crunch.
“It would be the only case in which the sanctioned person makes money and the one who sanctions suffers”, he noted, adding that Brussels recognizes that economic warfare is a double-edged sword.
According to the Italian politician, the EU cannot simply lift the sanctions, as that would imply giving in to Russia.
Last week, however, Salvini urged the EU to review its anti-Russia sanctions policy, saying it could be hurting member states more than Moscow. “If they are working, fine, but if they hit the sanctioning countries more than Russia… they will stoke the war rather than promote peace,” he claimed.
Italy is set for a general election on September 25 following the collapse of Mario Draghi's government in July. According to a study released last month by the Cattaneo Institute think tank, Italy’s right-wing bloc, of which Salvini’s Lega Nord is a part, is on track to win a broad majority in both houses of parliament.