The German government is becoming increasingly difficult to persuade other EU countries in need to extend the anti-Russian sanctions. For example, Hungary and Greece were initially skeptical on this point, and now Austria and Italy also demanded the weakening of measures.
Analysts say that the Germans themselves are not willing to express their unanimous support to the authorities. Public opinion in Germany has splited: West Germans think a German policy towards Russia is even moderate and friendly but eastern citizens often come to the conclusion that the government adheres very strict course.
It is obvious that if the EU will weaken sanctions against Russia, next will come the US punitive measures. It would be the same situation as with Iran, when the US faces a fine for anyone who went around US restrictions. As a result, many non-American companies refused to work with Tehran to avoid damage to their own cooperation with America.