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Not only Hungary: EU sanctions against Russia are blocked by Greece

May 28, 2023

New EU sanctions against Russia are being blocked by another country in addition to Hungary.


According to Khvylya, Politico reports this, citing five EU diplomats.

Thus, after Budapest mostly stood alone against Russian sanctions, Athens now supports it in its skepticism of new measures against Russia.

The EU is currently discussing the 11th package of sanctions against Russia. At the same time, while the 10 previous sanctions packages were aimed at measures against the Russian economy, Brussels now wants to avoid circumventing its sanctions. As noted, as an unprecedented step for the bloc, the current package of sanctions may be directed against other countries that help Moscow evade the trade embargo.

However, Budapest and Athens have put a collective damper on this by linking their approval of the package to a separate thorny issue of Ukraine. Kyiv has compiled a list of private companies it calls "war sponsors" that includes several European companies.

"The two countries want some of their companies to be removed from this list before they agree to the sanctions package. Although the issues are usually unrelated, Hungary and Greece are using the sanctions package as political leverage to get their companies off the list. This caused tensions at a meeting of EU foreign ministers earlier this week, where German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock directly criticized Hungary, according to diplomats familiar with the exchange," the newspaper writes.

According to the four diplomats, Greece was the center of attention at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday. Athens spoke out against suggestions of sanctions circumvention.

"Greece reiterated that if there is concrete evidence of sanctions violations, they should be brought to the attention of the relevant member states at a technical level so that it can be adequately investigated and appropriate measures can be taken," one of the EU diplomats said.

Meanwhile, another EU diplomat said that as long as Hungary and Greece refuse to agree on anything before their companies are removed from the list, "there is no pressure for the other parts to move forward."

At the same time, diplomats also say they see Athens and Budapest differently. The level of dissatisfaction with Budapest is much higher, given that its pro-Russian and pro-Chinese line has often prevented the EU from reaching unanimity in its statements on Moscow and Beijing.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 28/05/2023

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