Any new sanctions against Russia by the European Union will likely backfire on European economies while changing little in terms of improving the geostrategic affairs, EU lawmakers told Sputnik on Friday.
"The EU should understand that even if sanctions cost Russia a lot, they are impacting also European economies. The Europe-Russia trade has declined already in the last years, and in this moment of a big economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, imposing new sanctions is really nonsense", Andrea Picchielli, a member of Italy's Lega party, told Sputnik.
The Italian lawmaker recalled the 2014 bundle of the EU's anti-Russian sanctions over Crimea, pointing to how Russia managed to adapt and partially overcome the blow through financial and commercial diversification.
"I think that EU should change its policy towards Russia to dialogue and cooperation, but I think that with the new American administration it will be very hard to do it", Picchielli argued.
According to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell's statement following his visit to Moscow last week, new sanctions will be put on discussion during the next meeting of EU foreign ministers on 22 February. Picchielli said he hoped that member states would not vote for sanctions, but admitted feeling pessimistic about it.
Siegbert Droese, a member of the German parliament's Committee on EU affairs from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, too, expects Brussels to go through with new sanctions under the pretext of the Navalny case.
"The recent developments in terms of the relationship between the EU and Russia are very alarming. The AfD is always against the policy of sanctions, but unfortunately, the leading forces in Brussels, Berlin and Paris do really think that these sanctions can improve the geostrategic relationship. In this context, we criticize above all the idea of a moratorium or a junkie between the case of Alexey Navalny and Nord Stream 2", Droese told Sputnik.
The German lawmaker lamented many EU officials "thinking again in the categories of the Cold War" instead of embracing dialogue and cooperation with Moscow.
Such Eastern European countries as the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania, as well as the three Baltic states, have repeatedly asked Brussels to sanction Moscow over Navalny by targeting Nord Stream 2, an offshore pipeline designed to pump gas from Russia directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea bed. When the pipeline becomes operational, some of these countries, as well as Ukraine, may lose their sizable income from onshore transit fees.
While having extended ample support to Navalny, Germany right away rejected sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and insisted that the two issues be decoupled.