Nine rounds of sanctions on Russia have had “less than zero impact”.

The sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia are a “shot in the foot”. Nine rounds of sanctions since the start of the war in Ukraine have served no purpose except to harm themselves.

The 13,000 sanctions have not had the intended impact. “The effect is less than zero,” confessed Austrian MEP Guy Verhofstadt (*). But they have no choice but to continue to bluff. The bosses in the White House demand it.

For the Austrian government there is no alternative. This summer Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he had no intention of changing the sanctions policy against Russia. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) told ORF that he was “in favour of the maximum continuation of sanctions”. The ninth sanctions package has been welcomed by the Austrian government.

Sanctions are the modern form of the old medieval sieges, when armies camped in front of a fortress and did not let anyone in or out. But above all they did not let anything in.

What is the point of continuing a siege of Russia that serves no purpose? Although Russia has economic problems, on the whole it is doing well with sanctions. Shortly before the end of the year, Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the Russian Duma, declared that “the collapse expected by Brussels and Washington has not happened”.

Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by only 2 per cent last year, much less than expected. Russia recorded a current account surplus, the second largest after China. Record grain harvests, high Russian commodity prices, falling unemployment and investment in housing and road construction demonstrate the failure of sanctions.

From February to August, all EU imports from Russia increased in value, except those from the Baltic countries, the Scandinavian countries and Ireland. Austria is in fourth place with 139 per cent. Imports have only increased in value terms, which means that we have had to pay more for fewer goods.

At the same time, the rejection of Russian energy sources is already costing Europeans unimaginable amounts of money. But, according to Bloomberg, the crisis is still in its infancy and is expected to last until at least 2026.

On Wednesday the Lower Austrian Chamber of Commerce, in the midst of an election campaign, said the export economy had so far escaped with “a black eye”. But this year sanctions against Russia would come fully into force “and in the long term the Russian market could be lost”.

While the Austrian government clings firmly to this fatal policy, citizens are much more reasonable. Only 57 percent of Austrians approve of sanctions against Russia, compared to 73 percent in the EU as a whole.


Translated with (free version)

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