cc. A top-ranking EU official – as reported by the Deutsche Wirtschaftsnachrichten on 13 March – expressed to Reuters that more and more EU countries are turning against a prolongation of economic sanctions against Russia. Besides Hungary, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, Spain as well apparently takes an outspoken stand against the sanctions. The magazine quoted the Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo with the words: “The sanctions have inflicted great damage to the Spanish economy. [...] We have big losses, especially in the agricultural sector.” As did Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during a visit to Putin, also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, would now welcome a diplomatic solution, while taking into consideration the interests of Russia as well.
According to the Italian media (“Corriere della Sera” and “La Repubblica”) Russia wants to work closer together with Italy in the energy sector, in the machine industry field, with respect to space and nuclear industries, but also to actively cultivate the political dialogue, a plan positively emphasized by Putin. With regard to the Ukraine crisis, Renzi as well as Putin had expressly advised the necessity of preserving the territorial integrity of the country. In this respect Matteo Renzi referred explicitly to the positive experience of Italy with decentralised solutions to regional problems. Possibly Renzi had South Tyrol’s Statute of Autonomy in mind, that might serve as a model for the eastern Ukraine.
That European autonomy encounters transatlantic displeasure is not surprising. Apparently the US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is supposed to bring the countries on US line of stricter sanctions by bilateral talks. Her infamous EU quote will rather not facilitate her diplomatic entry..... •
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