“After a year of sanctions against Russia, a reinforced European diplomacy”

“After a year of sanctions against Russia, a reinforced European diplomacy”

Dince the start of the war in Ukraine, the European Union (EU) has gradually adopted some of the toughest sanctions against Russia in the world. This is a turning point in European diplomacy which, traditionally withdrawn from national actions, is now increasing its influence and seeking to simplify its procedures. The sanctions against a State having to be voted unanimously, it was not obvious that the Twenty-Seven could react to the war in this way, taking into account their own economic interests to defend and their more or less strong links with Russia.

However, it is clear that after a year of sanctions against Russia, European diplomacy is strengthened. The EU has been able to overcome its internal divisions and impose sanctions in almost all sectors, starting with financial transactions, oil, the media, through aviation, legal services and military equipment. About 1,500 oligarchs, state-owned companies, but also the Central Bank of Russia, had their assets frozen, representing at least 319 billion euros. Hungary, critical of the sanctions and repeating its veto power, ultimately never used it, and did not even abstain.

Certainly, since the establishment of a common foreign policy in 1992, the sanctions are frequently used tools and today concern about forty countries, sometimes symbolically. Today, by targeting its fifth trading partner, the EU has proven that it is capable of reacting as quickly and intensely as the United States while integrating twenty-seven different points of view. It thus makes sanctions a much more credible, concrete and formidable threat for any country with interests to preserve in Europe. The Russian case could therefore be a fundamental lever for future deterrence attempts which would be carried out this time on a European scale.

Connection with Central Asia

By speaking with one voice and promoting multilateralism to increase the effectiveness of its sanctions, the EU has affirmed its place on the international scene. A now firmer stance towards the candidate countries can be observed, the European Commission having considered for the first time the criterion of alignment with European sanctions as essential in its 2022 annual analysis of Serbia’s candidacy or even Turkey, closely watched to avoid any circumvention strategy.

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