Germany, France antagonize EU sanctions on luxury vehicles to Russia


(MENAFN) According to a report by Politico, Germany and France are actively opposing European Union efforts aimed at tightening restrictions on the transit of luxury cars and other high-end goods to Russia through Belarus. Citing sources within diplomatic circles, Politico highlighted that both countries are advocating against closing the current loophole that facilitates the flow of luxury vehicles into Russia via Belarus.

The data from the German Economy Ministry revealed a significant increase in European Union car exports to Belarus, which surged more than fourfold from 2021 to reach USD2.6 billion in 2023. A substantial portion of this growth, particularly in the luxury car segment, accounted for approximately two-thirds of the total increase, amounting to USD1.4 billion. Analysts attribute this surge to subsequent re-export activities targeting the Russian market.

While Berlin and Paris acknowledge the need for decisive actions to counter sanctions evasion, they argue that the primary focus should be on restricting goods that directly support Russian military operations. This stance underscores their reluctance to support broader sanctions that could potentially impact sectors beyond defense-related goods.

The European Union is currently preparing to introduce new measures aimed at tightening controls over Belarus to prevent it from serving as a conduit for Western goods destined for Russia, thus circumventing existing sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine. Despite European Union sanctions imposed on Belarus since 2020, these measures have been criticized for their limited effectiveness compared to those imposed on Russia, given the close economic and political ties between Belarus and Russia under a common customs union.

The resistance from Germany and France has triggered discussions among European Union member states on whether to segregate sanctions targeting Russia and Belarus in the upcoming 14th round of measures. This deliberation aims to facilitate consensus before the G7 summit scheduled in Italy on June 13-15, as diplomats strategize on aligning European policies amidst differing national interests and geopolitical complexities.

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