03:05 GMT +316 December 2019
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    This is Why Sanctions Against Russia are a 'Big Mistake' for Europe

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    Europe should abandon the policy of sanctions towards Russia since Moscow should be an important political and economic partner for the European Union, said Aldo Carcaci, a member of the Belgian parliament from the People's Party.

    On Thursday, the Council of Europe is expected to decide whether to extend economic sanctions against Russia.

    Earlier, a source in the German chancellor’s office said that Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande would recommend the automatic extension of sanctions.

    The current economic sanctions against Moscow expire at the end of January 2017.

    The lawmaker said that many in Belgium, including ordinary people and businessmen, consider the sanctions unfair and want them to be lifted.

    "They are unfair because of two reasons: firstly, because Belgian entrepreneurs are the main victims of this embargo: they cannot export anything anymore and they suffered economic losses that affected their income in 2015. […] Second thing is that we are the main victims, but for us it’s also a big mistake because Russia is our ally in fighting against Daesh. Russia and president [Vladimir] Putin are our allies, our friends in the fight against Islamism," Carcaci told a Sputnik correspondent.

    He also commented on what may change in Belgium and in the EU after the new United States presidential administration comes to power in January.

    Carcaci noted that the People’s Party was the only political party in Belgium that has supported Donald Trump as a presidential candidate and expected his victory.

    "We have very good relations with members of the future US administration, with people who work with Donald Trump. We are very glad because in Belgium we are the party of the people, a party that is being called populist. As for us, 'populist' means that we listen to Belgian people, to people who live here," the lawmaker said.

    He also pointed out that the current EU leadership is "detached" from reality and cannot listen to the voice of the people.

    "Trump was elected as the US leader because he listened to the middle class – to people whose concerns are being ignored by traditional political parties nowadays," Carcaci underscored.

    According to him, the US foreign policy under the new president will be more oriented on building partnership ties with Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

    At the same time, the lawmaker expressed concern that Europe will continue to lose its position in the global geopolitical arena.

    "We were always in the shadow of the US, we always listened to directives and advice from the US, and we, as a state with a population of nearly half a billion people, don’t make decisions, don’t have real European foreign policy," Carcaci said.

    Finally, the lawmaker expressed hope that all the upcoming changes to the global political environment will result in broader cooperation and partnership between Russia and the West.

    "I hope that Russia, which is a great country, a brotherly country, which has the same culture, same traditions, will be a real economic and political partner for us as well," Carcaci said.


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