stay the course on sanctions against Russia

stay the course on sanctions against Russia

Lhe Russo-Ukrainian war is entering a new phase for European public opinion. After the outpouring of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the implementation of unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow, the indignation at the war crimes perpetrated by the Russian army, doubt and weariness threaten to set in.

Despite the Ukrainian counter-offensive currently underway, the conflict promises to be long and indecisive, while the European population is beginning to feel the consequences of the war on their daily lives. As winter approaches, the scenario of an energy shortage is not the most likely, but it is sufficiently credible to shake our certainties about our comfort as rich countries. Inflation erodes purchasing power and forces governments to deploy colossal budgetary efforts to cushion the blow for consumers. Finally, recession threatens, against a backdrop of rising interest rates, a falling euro and energy prices that are becoming a deterrent to economic activity.

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This anxiety-provoking context is fertile ground for questioning the strategy chosen by the European Union (EU). Six months after the start of the war, Russia has never earned so much money from its hydrocarbon exports, to the point of casting doubt on the effectiveness of the sanctions. From there to suggest that Europe would be the sprinkler sprinkled with a badly thought out and badly calibrated policy, there is only one step, which some no longer hesitate to take.

In a democracy, it is legitimate for these doubts to be expressed. But let’s not be naive. This reading of the situation is skilfully maintained by the Kremlin’s propaganda, which seeks to divide Europeans. The efforts of the Russian regime to persuade them that it is in their interests to loosen the noose are the best proof that the sanctions work. Otherwise why so eager to ask that they stop?

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Russia has already slipped into a deep recession, industrial production and investment are collapsing, inflation is much higher than in the West, and the war effort is considerably disrupted by the lack of electronic components, which are embargoed. The country is only at the beginning of a long ordeal.

maintain unity

Despite everything, the discourse on the ineffectiveness of sanctions is beginning to infuse public opinion. Under cover of an unrealistic pacifism in the current context, while playing on protective accents of the purchasing power of citizens, voices, on the right as on the left, call for unacceptable compromises, whose geopolitical consequences on European sovereignty.

At a time when the situation is becoming tense, with the imminent shutdown of Russian gas supplies, the EU must mobilize to assert its principles and its interests in the face of Russian propaganda. This first requires more education and conviction on the issues of the balance of power with Moscow. Our energy comfort and our economic prosperity cannot be our only horizon. To change course on sanctions would be to reinforce Vladimir Putin in his vision of a cowardly Europe incapable of holding its place in history. Any admission of weakness would be interpreted as encouragement to pursue its wild ambitions beyond Ukraine.

It is then necessary to maintain the unity which the Twenty-Seven have been able to show until now. The common energy strategy currently being drawn up is crucial from this point of view. Deviating from this trajectory of solidarity with Ukraine could ultimately be fatal to the European project.

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