EU countries extend sanctions against Russia

EU countries extend sanctions against Russia
EU countries extend sanctions against Russia

Hungary today refrained from blocking the extension of EU sanctions against Russia, after last week it questioned the need for their renewal, DPA reported.

The official procedure for renewing the sanctions for another six months was completed on time, the spokesperson of the Czech rotating presidency of the Council of the EU informed the agency.

The extension becomes a fact once the decision is published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Sanctions are considered a temporary measure and must be renewed periodically. If Hungary had blocked the extension, the punitive measures would have expired this week. The sanctions were imposed because of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. They include punitive measures against more than 1,200 people for their support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his policies. The assets of the affected individuals are frozen and they are banned from traveling to the EU.

According to European diplomats, Hungary wanted Russian oligarchs Alisher Usmanov, Pyotr Aven and Viktor Rashnikov to be removed from the sanctions list.

It was announced earlier that the European Commission would freeze funding to EU member states that harm democracy, and its president, Ursula von der Leyen, specifically named corruption as a problem today.

“We have to fight for our democracies… I would like to focus on corruption,” von der Leyen said, without naming a specific country.

However, her team is expected to recommend on Sunday the suspension of up to 70 percent of cohesion funds worth 22.5 billion euros from the 2021-27 EU budget earmarked for Hungary, EU officials were quoted as saying by Reuters. None of them specified the amount involved.

The Hungarian forint and government bonds fell today on the news. The European Parliament criticized Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for years of undermining the rights of migrants, gays and women, as well as the freedom of the media, academia and the courts, according to Reuters.

Orbán rejects these criticisms but is under pressure to provide funds for Hungary’s ailing economy. The government in Budapest has promised to create an anti-corruption agency and has repeatedly said it hopes for an agreement with Brussels, Reuters notes.

Any cuts would come on top of the roughly €6 billion earmarked for Hungary from a separate economic stimulus to overcome the COVID-19 crisis already blocked by the European Commission over the same corruption concerns.

EU countries will have up to three months to decide on the EC’s recommendation by majority vote, BTA reports.

The article is in bulgaria

Tags: countries extend sanctions Russia

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