The EU should not lift the sanctions it imposed on Russia over the Ukraine conflict even if they don’t have an immediate effect, because they work like a “diet,” the bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a plenary session of the European Parliament, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs commented on calls from the Western Balkans urging Brussels to remove anti-Russian restrictions, saying it’s important for the EU “to press the point that sanctions are effective.”
Last week, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic predicted that Europe would face a “polar” winter next year, largely due to the sanctions the EU has levied on Russia, which impact the energy sector. While Serbia is not a part of the EU, the country’s energy supply routes run through countries that are, meaning that the nation would inevitably be hurt by the restrictions.
“We cannot lift [sanctions] until they have had their effect. They may not have an immediate impact. It’s like going on a diet to lose weight and being upset that you haven’t lost kilos and kilos after just a couple of weeks,” the diplomat said.
According to Borrell, the sanctions “diet” must remain in place, otherwise the “kilograms you’ve already lost will be very easily put on again.”