Published: Tue, 17 October 2023
Seán Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, has warned that the European Commission urgently needs to take immediate and comprehensive action to address the evasion of sanctions imposed on Russia. Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Kelly said it is “increasingly evident that sanctions evasion is widespread”, extending even to Member States that have officially endorsed sanctions. He pointed out that some Member States are “importing Russian products through third countries that, in turn, directly import from Russia”. This practice not only undermines the sanctions but also poses a significant challenge to their effectiveness.
Furthermore, Kelly highlighted that certain companies are not adhering to the sanctions, thereby undermining the collective efforts of the European Union. He underscored the urgent need for a thorough discussion on the current sanctions in place, their efficacy, and immediate steps to curb evasion. Only once these issues are addressed can the European Union consider further sanctions as a viable option.
In a speech to the Parliament today, Kelly said: “The important point now, especially from the Commission’s perspective, is not to dwell on the sanctions we have imposed or their impact on the German economy, but rather to focus on the critical issue of sanctions evasion. It is quite obvious that this evasion is widespread. Even Member States who have officially embraced sanctions are indirectly supporting the Russian economy by importing Russian products through third countries. This is simply unacceptable and must be halted. The same applies to companies that are not complying with sanctions.
“We need an urgent, detailed discussion on the effectiveness of existing sanctions and what the European Commission intends to do immediately to prevent those attempting to avoid them. Only then can we consider additional sanctions. This is the key to maintaining the integrity of our sanctions regime”, he added.
MEP Kelly also welcomed the Parliament’s vote in favour of a €50 billion recovery fund to support Ukraine towards recovery, reconstruction, and EU integration. The financial package, which comprises both loans and grants, is to be provided from 2024 through to 2027.
“The establishment of the recovery fund for Ukraine represents a vital step in our commitment to supporting Ukraine. The objectives are clear: to aid recovery, reconstruction, and modernisation of the country while fostering democratic, social, and economic cohesion.”
“Our unwavering support for Ukraine’s alignment with Union rules and values, as well as future membership aspirations, is pivotal for mutual stability, security, peace, prosperity, and sustainability,” Kelly concluded.