EU extends sanctions on Russia, steps up defence integration

On 14 December, the European Council extended economic sanctions on Russia for another six months and welcomed the advance in European defence integration under the so-called PESCO.

The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) was established by the Foreign Affairs Council on 11 December. It represents the EU’s most ambitious defence integration initiative but the initial projects show dominance by Western countries and their critical interest in the Southern neighbourhood, pointing to the East-West division in defence or migration. The 25 signatory countries will take part in medical, logistic, training, cyber or maritime projects on an intergovernmental basis. NATO also welcomes the cooperation scheme as it will increase defence capabilities and industries of its European members. Meanwhile, the unanimously renewed economic sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the Ukraine war come despite growing tensions between Ukraine and EU members Hungary, Romania and Poland over minority rights and historical revisionism. Slovak PM Robert Fico questioned the effectivity of the sanctions and signalled that their future extension is not certain. On 12 December, the US and Canada approved supply of lethal weapons to Kiev after failed talks over the conflict’s resolution between Kremlin and Washington.

About author: Petr Boháček


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