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Germany“s Scholz: New Russia sanctions planned around Ukraine war anniversary


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks at the lower house of parliament Bundestag, a day before attending an EU summit, in Berlin, Germany February 8, 2023. REUTERS/Christian Mang

Europe will tighten sanctions against Russia once again near the anniversary of the start of its invasion of Ukraine as a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday ahead of a special EU summit.

“Putin will not achieve his goals – not on the battlefield and not through a dictated peace,” Scholz told the Bundestag (lower house of parliament). He said the EU would back Ukraine as long as needed in the war that began on Feb. 24 last year.

Diplomatic sources told Reuters last month that EU countries were working on a 10th package of sanctions that should be ready around the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of its neighbour.

Scholz also criticised the public competition among some countries over who can deliver more and better weapons to Ukraine, saying it weakened the unity of allies.

“We preserve and strengthen this cohesion by first preparing decisions confidentially – and only then communicating them,” Scholz said according to a manuscript of his speech, citing his cooperation with U.S. President Joe Biden on the decision to supply modern battle tanks to Ukraine.

Beyond the war in Ukraine, EU leaders are also set to discuss irregular migration and the bloc’s economic situation at their special summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Scholz said Europe had no need to hide from the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act when it comes to the amount of subsidies, but added that European leaders need a detailed analysis before they could address any gaps in the programmes.

A subsidy race with the United States would be the wrong response for the EU, added Scholz, who said that Germany was trying to deepen its economic relations with the United States.

“Ongoing talks on the IRA are a good starting point for this – at least if the U.S. renounces rules that put European companies at a disadvantage compared to companies from Canada and Mexico, for example,” Scholz said.

He was echoing EU demands for the same treatment as those U.S. trade partners, whose manufacturing is largely included in the subsidy schemes.