John on These are dangerous times in the fragile and complicated relationship between Russia and the EU.
The widely viewed as illegitimate Crimean vote to join Russia has the EPP Group and Parliament working overtime…seeking effective sanctions against Russia for its intrusions into Ukraine.
John off At a hearing on Russian trade with the EUs eastern neighbours, speakers mentioned Vladimir Putin's wounded pride.
The overthrow of the pro-Russian Janukovych government in Kiev had led to Putin's planned revenge in annexing Crimea.
Now the EU needs scaleable sanctions that don´t spiral out of control, said Alojz Peterle, an EPP member on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
John off Tom Casier of the Brussels School of International Studies, agreed but said Russia still needed to be offered some incentives in exchange for lowering the threat level against Ukraine.
Tom Casier, Brussels School of International Studies
These sanctions maybe have to be linked to some longer term promises in case we get over the crisis and in case Russia is willing to make certain concessions. I think this is necessary in the longer term because otherwise we run the risk of having a further escalation.
John off The Crimean referendum...a "referendum at gunpoint" as some have described it. Nonetheless Peterle said the EU had risen above purely economic considerations to send a strong moral message to Russia.
Alojz Peterle, Slovenian MEP I think the European Union with this decision has shown that there is something beyond energy and economic interests. I don´t count that we will see much lower volume of trade which was increasing all these years. But I think for more trade we need peace and cooperation oriented politics.
Actions punishing Russian and Crimean officials by issuing travel bans may prove more symbolic than effective.
Given how much energy interdependence still exists between the EU and Russia, and the military threat behind the standoff in Ukraine, officials here say the situation remains complex and explosive.
Find out more about the activities of the largest political force in Parliament by going to eppgroup.eu. Thanks for looking in, and see you again soon.
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