EU unlikely to lift sanctions against Russia in 2018, says expert

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Sergeevicha in fotobanka Russia and the EU on the promenade of nice. Archival photoEU unlikely to lift sanctions against Russia in 2018, says expert© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Sergeevicha the image Bank

EU sanctions against Russia unlikely to be abolished in 2018, can only be progress in the field of sectoral restrictions, says associate Professor of political science and sociology political process sociology faculty Paul Kanevsky.He explained that the lifting of sanctions should a joint decision of all member countries of the European Union. But there is no consensus on this issue, since there are countries that are more interested in lifting sanctions due to closer economic ties, more positive interdependence and those who are mainly politicized refers to Russia — the countries of Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries.

«This is a common problem of distrust of our Eastern neighbors to Russia and Vice versa, which did not appear today. Over the past 25 years, the parties have done little to progress in the relationship. Based on this, I don’t think in 2018 will happen a radical change of attitude on their part,» — said Kanev.

At the same time, he believes that a more meaningful achievement for Russia than the lifting of sanctions, will be the construction of «Nord stream — 2». «For Russia, the biggest breakthrough would be if the construction of «Nord Stream – 2″ will be given the go-ahead from the EU countries if the EC will not intervene in this issue. Perhaps from an economic and strategic point of view, it will be even more important and realistic breakthrough than the lifting of sanctions,» — said Kanev.

At the same time, the expert does not exclude the possibility of change in individual things related to the restrictions of the Russian Federation. «Of course, maybe we will see progress in the light of sectoral sanctions,» he said.

In his opinion, it is necessary to look on both sides of the factors, which may lead to withdrawal from the EU sanctions. One is a rational economic interest from European businesses, which interfere with the sanction, which would strengthen ties with Russia, more understandable investment climate in Russia, which, however, also depends on the internal situation in Russia, from the willingness of the authorities to greater economic freedom and transparency.

The second point, the expert said, is a political, more complex. «As far as now possible the new version of «Ostpolitik», a new vision of European countries draw Russia into the Western orbit is a big question, too big differences. Therefore, the political component will strongly conflict with the rational-economic and moral aspects of relations,» — said Kanev.

However, he noted that Russia also needs this to draw their own conclusions, to understand that cooperation with the EU only on rational-economic conditions will always be limited. Without a common understanding of political development and security issues we will be in a state of perpetual mistrust, he said.

«If there will be any progress on EU – EEU, it may reimburse the trust deficit and help to establish a dialogue between Russia and the EU, which is now an elementary cut in many directions,» he said.

If there is improvement on all levels – political, economic, I think that Russia will agree to lift the sanctions because they were imposed as retaliatory measures. The meaning of the response will disappear if to be resolved the primary measure from the EU, the expert said, speaking about the reaction in Russia if sanctions will be lifted.

The EU imposed restrictive economic measures against Russia in the summer of 2014 on the background of the conflict in Ukraine and later expanded them. The leaders of the countries-EU members in March 2015 tied their action to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. In December, the Council of the European Union decided to extend economic sanctions against Russia until July 31, 2018.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to domestic conflict or subject of the Minsk agreements on the settlement. Russia responded to European sanctions, has embarked on import substitution and repeatedly indicated that talking to her in the language of sanctions is counterproductive.