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22 Nov, 2023 09:36

Sanctions against Russia ‘impoverishing EU’ – French MEP

Thierry Mariani said restrictions against Moscow had backfired on the countries that imposed them
Sanctions against Russia ‘impoverishing EU’ – French MEP

Western sanctions against Russia have ended up damaging the nations that imposed them, French European Parliament member Thierry Mariani has told the TVLibertes (TVL) channel.   

In an interview aired on Saturday, Mariani said sanctions had been intended to “ruin” the Russian economy, but “on the contrary, they impoverish us.” 

Citing the strain on the EU economy, the MEP said he was surprised that French President Emmanuel Macron was positive about the potential expansion of the bloc.   

Nations hoping to join the EU must meet the so-called ‘Copenhagen criteria’, a set of rules that include the acceptance of all EU legislation, a functional market economy, the rule of law, and a stable democracy.  

Ukraine and Georgia are among several countries keen on EU membership. However, widespread corruption in Ukraine has even provoked concern in its biggest sponsor, the US. In a document setting out future cooperation with Kiev released earlier this year, Washington stated that “political control wielded by the oligarchs who rose since Ukraine’s independence has fueled a system of corruption and anti-democratic trends.”  

Mariani told TVL that he expects the financial burden to fall on countries such as France or Germany to deal with issues that accompany the accession of new EU members. The MEP also argued that joining NATO or the EU would not necessarily be the best way for Ukraine to guarantee its security.   

The Russian economy has seemingly adapted to sanctions imposed since the beginning of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. The Russian Finance Ministry and the European Commission have both forecast positive GDP trends for this year, predicting growth of 3% and 2% respectively.  

The EU is currently discussing a 12th round of sanctions against Moscow, potentially including a ban on Russian diamonds and personal restrictions against relatives of the political leadership. However, the talks are reportedly at a standstill due to Hungary’s intention to veto the package.