Germany says the EU is facing difficult talks on extending sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine due to the increased resistance of some member states, according to an interview released Thursday.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also told the Baltic News Service (BNS) that the West needed to engage in dialogue with Russia to “rebuild” lost trust and tackle crises in Syria and Libya.
Steinmeier, who is to hold talks in Vilnius and Riga Thursday with Baltic partners Lithuania and Latvia focused on NATO’s July summit in Warsaw, said “we are aware that resistance in the EU to extending the sanctions towards Russia has increased.
“It will be more difficult than it was last year to find a common position on this issue,” he added.
Steinmeier did not single out specific EU countries resisting continued sanctions, but Italy and Hungary have been among the most sceptical while Poland and the Baltic states have repeatedly pressed for maintaining pressure on Moscow.
Current EU sanctions on Russia’s banking, defense and energy sectors expire in July. Extending them will require a unanimous vote, and EU leaders are expected to discuss the issue next month.