Alignment with EU sanctions against Russia: reasons and risks. IPN debate

Earlier this month, the Moldovan authorities announced their intention to significantly extend Moldova’s alignment with the sanctions imposed by the European Union on the Russian Federation. The process of implementing this decision was started and the authorities promised to provide more information about the areas and proportions of the new sanctions in the near future. It is yet already clear that it goes to an action with a big reaction potential on the internal situation and on the external position of the Republic of Moldova. The experts invited to IPN’s public debate  “Alignment with EU sanctions against Russia: reasons and risks” discussed the benefits and risk of such a decision and the measures that should be taken to counteract or prevent risks and dangers.

Igor Boțan, the permanent expert of IPN’s project, said the international legal sanctions are collective or unilateral coercive measures against a state that violated the international law norms. The states and international organizations can impose sanctions in response to actions of individuals, organizations or states, which they consider a threat to their interests or to international security. “The sanctions are widely used. The UN Charter among sanctions stipulates so-called cohesive economic and military constraint measures. The term “sanction” itself refers to cohesive measures. In fact, the sanctions are coercive measures taken by international organizations,” stated Igor Boțan.

The expert noted that the economic sanctions represent the constraining or full ending of commercial and financial transactions, discouraging of states or individuals who violate the international law norms. The sanctions can be imposed by individual states and by international organizations on private individuals and legal entities, on organizations or states. The UN clearly regulates the imposition of sanctions in Article 39, Chapter 8 of the UN Charter.

Igor Boțan noted that the U.S. imposes sanctions owing to its financial and economic capacities and military potential. The U.S. imposes economic sanctions in order to protect its own interests and also international security. The European Union also actively uses the sanctions mechanism and is extremely attentive to the sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council.

“The EU designed a wide range of sanctions it imposes to combat the threats to the basic principles of its foreign policy, violations of international peace and security, terrorism, etc.” said Igor Boțan, noting that the restrictive measures are taken by a unanimous decision of the Council of the EU at the suggestion of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

MP of the Party of Action and Solidarity Igor Chiriac said the international sanctions are nothing but measures that impose particular restrictions on the governments of particular states, entities, private individuals and legal entities. The Republic of Moldova has subsided to about 70% of the sanctions imposed by the EU.

“I want to clarify things. Given that we were granted the EU candidate status, this status requires to align ourselves with the European Union’s sanctions. Up to now, we saw, including from the information provided by the minister of foreign affairs and European integration, that a number of new packages of sanctions are being considered for discouraging the Russian Federation from continuing this unjust war against the people of Ukraine,” stated Igor Chiriac.

According to him, from the start of this war, the Republic of Moldova has firmly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the flagrant violation of international law. The MP made reference to the Statement by which Parliament condemned Russia’s barbarous aggression against Ukraine.

“We hope that these international bans will discourage the Russian Federation in these unjust military actions from which civilians, innocent people also suffer,” noted the PAS MP.

Mihai Mogîldea, vice director of the Institute for European Polices and Reforms, (IPRE)  said the reasons for the imposed sanctions are rather clear and were imposed because Russia violated the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The EU that was built on democratic principles cannot accept something like this. Moreover, the EU is always ready to help Ukraine resist the Russian invasion.

“The reason for the imposition of sanctions also resides in the potential risk implied by the extension of the Ukraine war to the states of the European Union as Ukraine has a common border with Romania, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, which are EU member states. The related assessment of risks probably generates concerns in Brussels,” stated Mihai Mogîldea.

The IPRE vice director also said that the sanctions are imposed both on public and private legal entities and individuals. On the one hand, the sanctions in the financial and banking sectors target primarily private entities and also state-run companies. On the other hand, there are economic sanctions that clearly target key institutions of the Russian energy system, in particular Gazprom. The EU also has a sanctions list that includes 1,473 individuals who are close to the Kremlin and who openly promote this aggressive and conquering policy with regard to Ukraine.

“Ten packages of sanctions have been adopted so far. Their goal is to gradually push the Russian Federation towards a more difficult economic, energy and political situation. We should not forget that the pressure that comes with these sanctions is reflected also on the authorities of the Russian Federation at political level. We expect more packages of sanctions will follow and will probably extend the number of private individuals and legal entities that will be affected. These will probably include new persons, new functionaries, new entities close to the Kremlin. This is important as it ultimately goes to the Russian Federation and to those persons who work actively to organize and continue this war in Ukraine,” he stated.

The public debate entitled “Alignment with EU sanctions against Russia: reasons and risks” was the 277th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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