Russia: New sanctions against tax evasion, but no action on nuclear power and oil prices

Russia: New sanctions against tax evasion, but no action on nuclear power and oil prices

Nuclear power and an EU oil price cap are unlikely to be included in the proposal for the next round of sanctions, according to several EU diplomats. Consultations on the seventh package of sanctions against Russia over the past weekend left some more belligerent member states unsatisfied.

Later this week, the EU executive is expected to present capitals with an official proposal on the next sanctions against Russia. The European Commission therefore held consultations with the EU member states over the weekend.

The approval is expected before EU foreign ministers meet for their regular meeting in mid-October, an EU official told EURACTIV.

According to a position paper seen by EURACTIV, the measures proposed by Russia’s critics would include attacks on Russia’s nuclear, luxury goods, IT and technology sectors, as well as banning more banks from the SWIFT messaging system.

According to European diplomats, Germany is also ready to do more and has even campaigned for the European companies that finance the mining of metals and rare earths in Russia to be banned, as well as the import of uranium.

Nuclear power and oil price caps, sanctions unlikely

In the seventh package there will be no additional sanctions against European imports of Russian energy, although some countries are calling for the inclusion of fossil gas and nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy, a key sector for countries like France and Bulgaria, is unlikely to be included in the package, raising concerns among some member states about the maintenance of European nuclear power plants, several EU sources told EURACTIV. European diplomats provided information on the weekend ‘s discussions .

The measure would have had an impact”the construction of structures or the installation of equipment or the supply of services, equipment or technology for activities related to energy or power generation, both in Russia and abroadThis could have affected the construction of the Russian-backed expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary, which Budapest would certainly have vetoed.

Likewise, the idea of ​​introducing a price cap mechanism for Russian oil exports, as agreed by the G7 countries, is not unanimous among member states, the diplomats added.

It is likely that, at least in the short term, Brussels will try to combat high gas prices by negotiating with supplier countries rather than import restrictions.

Despite pressure from the United States to set up a mechanism before December 5, when the ban on sea imports of Russian crude oil comes into effect, southern European countries in particular have opposed the measure.

«There’s a lot of noise about price caps and nuclear power, but as far as we know, the European Commission hasn’t ruled anything out (or enforced it for that matter).a European diplomat told EURACTIV.

However, another EU diplomat expressed his frustration, shared by Russia’s critics, that by excluding the energy element from the measures, the package “minuscule».

EU prepares new sanctions against Russia

A new round of sanctions against Russia is to be prepared after an emergency overnight meeting of EU foreign ministers in New York on Wednesday following Moscow’s recent escalation in the war against Ukraine. A EURACTIV report from New York.

Sanction Avoidance Test

A group of EU member states, including the Netherlands, France, Poland and the Baltic States, have proposed a new inclusion criterion where aiding and evading sanctions could become a ground for punishing individuals and organizations.

«The European Commission seemed willing to look into this issue as it could act as a deterrent to aiding sanctions evasionan EU diplomat told EURACTIV.

In May, the EU executive unveiled plans that would make breaking EU sanctions a crime across the EU.

However, this proposal still needs the support of Member States, which are generally reluctant to introduce reforms that require changes to their criminal law.

Embargo on diamonds

Poland, Ireland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, anti-Russian member states, had also proposed introducing a retaliatory ban on imports of Russian diamonds, where Alrosa is the world’s largest rough stone producer.

Diamonds made in Russia have so far been conspicuously absent from the embargo list. Indeed, Belgium, home to the world’s largest diamond trading hub Antwerp, has lobbied strongly not to include them.

However, according to two European diplomats, Belgium should drop its opposition to including this luxury product in the next package.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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