Senior German Party Leader Seehofer Questions Sanctions on Russia

The deputy chairman of the Christian Social Union, the top party in Bavaria and a cornerstone of Chancellor Angela Merkel's support, says it's time to talk about ending the sanctions

This post first appeared on Russia Insider


Originally Appeared at Die Welt. Translated from the German by Susan Neumann


The deputy chairman of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer is raising the question of the effectiveness of the economic sanctions against Russia. The return to a “normal conversational atmosphere” might be possible. Moscow is right now needed to help end the series of global crises.

CSU leader Horst Seehofer is questioning the EU sanctions against Russia. The Bavarian Prime Minister is meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 4.

Seehofer said, “We have a lot to talk about: the refugees and the fight against the reason they had to leave, the security situation in many regions of the world; and of course, the relationship of the Ukraine and the sanctions.”

“One has to ask: do we want to allow the sanctions to go on indefinitely or is it time to talk about it?” The CSU leader stressed, “It can’t be denied that Russia is needed to help resolve global crises spots.”

“Can the objective be achieved with the sanctions?”

The EU imposed economic sanctions in 2014 in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and “deliberate destabilization” of the Ukraine. The sanctions are currently in place until January 31, 2016. It is expected that these restrictive measures will be extended when leaders convene at the EU summit (December 17). Having a trade-dependent economy, Bavaria is among those who are pressuring for an end to the sanctions.

Seehofer emphasized  that Europe will not give up its legal position. “[Extending the sanctions] only begs the question. Can one achieve one’s goals by imposing sanctions?” We don’t intend to make relative the events that happened in Crimea,” the Prime Minister said. "It’s happened many times in history that one has attempted to return to normalized, reasonable relations while maintaining a legal standpoint.” 

Seehofer wants to visit Russia two times in the coming year. The meeting with Putin should be confined to "a small circle and will concentrate on a very compact program." Accompanying Seehofer will be CSU honorary chairman Edmund Stoiber, the person who arranged the visit with the Kremlin leader. There’s also to be a second visit to Russia with a much larger delegation, and according to Seehofer, the delegation will be "composed of representatives from diverse economic, science, and cultural sectors.”


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