Finnish Prime Minister Stubb: Russian border co-operation not under threat

Prime Minister Alexander Stubb says that the European Union’s potential new sanctions list, which is due to be announced at the end of July, will not affect Finland’s border co-operation with Russia. The Finnish broadcaster Yle reports, that the EU leaders have on their meeting in Brussels removed the border co-operation from a sanction list.

The cross-border cooperation was originally a part of the contacts with Russia that could be terminated under a new sanctions regime which is reportedly some way short of the mooted ‘phase three’ sanctions which would hit parts of the Russian economy.

The new measures could be announced at the end of July, and will represent an attempt to step up pressure on Russia. Up to now sanctions have focused on individuals. The move to exclude border co-operation from the new list is a win for Finland, which under new premier Alexander Stubb had prioritized retention of smooth border crossing procedures.

“It could be that in the future certain programs are dealt with on a case-by-case basis”, said Stubb after the summit.

The heads of government had been meeting to discuss possible broader sanctions on Russia over its actions around the Ukraine crisis. Stubb said that individuals directly linked to Russia’s takeover of Crimea could now be targeted by the new sanctions.

A Reuters report overnight said that EU leaders will also focus on financing for Russian companies and public sector projects, with investment banks and the EU-owned European Bank for Reconstruction and Development a particular target.

The Financial Times reports that it has a copy of the draft summit communique, and that the proposed sanctions are an ‘intentional blurring’ of phase two sanctions, which target individuals, and phase three sanctions, which would hit whole sectors of the Russian economy.

Source: / News in English