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    The head of radical leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras speaks to supporters after winning the elections in Athens

    Greece Disagrees With Anti-Russian Sanctions to Show Independence From EU

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    EU leaders asked the Foreign Affairs Council to consider new sanctions against Russia. The Greek Deputy Foreign Minister responded that the country is against those Western sanctions, as they damage the Greek economy.

    MOSCOW, January 29 (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko, Tosi Ivanova – The new Greek government, led by the left-wing Syriza party expressed disagreement with the European Union's fresh call for more anti-Russia sanctions in order to demonstrate a more independent position, but significant policy changes are unlikely, experts have told Sputnik.

    "Both Syriza and its coalition partner, ANEL (Independent Greeks), wish to signal that Greece will not slavishly follow the Western or EU foreign policy line. Syriza's history and culture have been influenced by its Communist past to some extent. ANEL is keen to show its pro-Russian and pro-Putin feelings," Kevin Featherstone, Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, told Sputnik Wednesday.

    Featherstone did stress, however, that Greece depends on the European Union in terms of debt easing that the country urgently needs.

    The professor warned that "very soon Athens will no doubt realize that asking the eurozone for help outweighs its interests with Russia". Nevertheless, according to Feathersone, if the new Greek government survives, Athens will likely strengthen its ties with Moscow.

    Aristides Hatzis, Associate Professor at the University of Athens agreed that Greece's current government is more pro-Russian than its predecessors.

    "The new foreign minister is more friendly to Russia than the previous ministers (and the previous governments). This is so for several other members of the government," Hatzis told Sputnik Wednesday, stressing that "the EU behaved ill-manneredly" and the Greek government used the chance to emphasize its more "independent" attitude with regard to the European Union.

    The professor, added, however, that Greece's reaction to the European Union's call for more anti-Russia sanction "should not be construed as a major shift in policy" because Greece needs to maintain an EU-friendly stance in order to improve its economic situation.

    "Greek economy and especially Greek banks are in such a bad shape that a schism with European Union will lead to economic disaster. This means that if the new government decides to reach a compromise with our partners for debt relief, it will be extremely difficult to pursue a foreign policy which is not in alignment with our partners," Hatzis explained.

    Poll

    Do you believe SYRIZA can fix Greek economy?
    • Yes, the EU fears Greece will exit the eurozone, so SYRIZA holds the cards.
      56.8% (715)
    • I don't believe in success of this particular party, but their victory marks the revival of Greece.
      20.0% (251)
    • No, their promises to reduce austerity are utopian and will not be accepted by the 'Troika'.
      14.2% (178)
    • No, nothing good has ever come from radicalism.
      9.0% (113)
    Voted: 1257
    On Tuesday, EU leaders asked the Foreign Affairs Council to consider new sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis. The newly-elected Greek government, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed the country's "discontent" to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, stressing that the EU statement was released without the consent of the member states.

    The Greek Deputy Foreign Minister said Wednesday that the country is against sanctions imposed on Russia by the West, as they damage the Greek economy.

    Earlier in January, the Incofruit-Hellas association of Greek enterprises exporting fruit, vegetables and juices said in a report that the country's farmers have lost $46.7 million in fruit and vegetable exports due to the one-year food ban introduced by Russia in August 2014. The ban was a response to sanctions imposed on Russia earlier by the United States, the European Union and their allies that are accusing Russia of aggravating the situation in southeastern Ukraine.

    Topic:
    Syriza Party Wins Greek Snap Parliamentary Elections (49)

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    Tags:
    sanctions, University of Athens, London School of Economics and Political Science, ANEL, EU Foreign Affairs Council, Syriza, Federica Mogherini, Alexis Tsipras, Russia, Greece
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