In addition to the new budget, the EU summit also agreed on further sanctions against Russia and Turkey. The measures against Moscow are simply being extended, the new sanctions against Ankara are above all a threat.
The EU will impose new sanctions on Turkey. The reason for this is the unauthorized Turkish gas explorations off Cyprus, as emerged from a decision by the heads of state and government at the EU summit in Brussels. The sanctions could affect both individuals and companies involved in test drilling that is deemed illegal. They are to be finally decided by the Council of Ministers and include entry bans and property freezes.
For the time being, however, there will be no sanctions against entire branches of the economy or an EU arms embargo. Appropriate demands because of the persistent confrontational politics of the government in Ankara did not find the necessary unanimous support.
Further sanctions as early as March?
According to the decision taken during the night, more far-reaching steps could be initiated at the next regular EU summit on March next year. Until then, the EU Commission and the Foreign Service should work out further options for action. They are also expected to present a report on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the political and economic relations between the EU and Turkey.
Turkey has been criticized primarily for its controversial gas exploration in sea areas off Cyprus and near Greek islands. Provocations in the conflict over the partition of Cyprus and violations of the UN arms embargo against Libya are also considered unacceptable. Turkey rejects the allegations.
Because of gas exploration off Cyprus, the EU had already imposed entry bans and asset freezes on two executives of the Turkish energy company TPAO in February. As early as 2019, it was decided to restrict the allocation of EU funds and to suspend negotiations on an air transport agreement. However, none of these measures have so far had any visible effect.
EU summit also extends economic sanctions against Russia
The EU leaders had previously extended the economic sanctions against Russia because of the Ukraine conflict by six months. Because, from the point of view of the Europeans, there had been no progress in implementing the Minsk Agreement for Peace in Ukraine, an extension was expected.
The EU imposed the sanctions after the MH17 passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014. They are directed against Russian state banks, the import and export of armaments, and the oil and gas industry. The sanctions had already been extended several times, most recently until January 31, 2021. The EU Council of Ministers still has to confirm the decision for the next six months, but this is considered a formal requirement. The sanctions would then continue to apply until the end of July 2021.