"ALL THE courageousness of the guardians of democracy ends at their economic interests. In other words, whenever a country's economic interests are at stake, the problem that concerns human rights and democracy goes out of the limelight,” Prime Minister Robert Fico said following a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on March 21, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “I can hereby confirm that we've adopted no economic sanctions against Russia, because everybody knows what this would mean for the EU, hence there wasn't much interest in adopting such sanctions.”
According to Fico, Russia is an important trade partner for Slovakia.
"We consider the Russian market to be strategic, and we see no reason to address political problems through economic sanctions that would be to the detriment of both sides," he said, as quoted by TASR. The EU leaders nevertheless agreed on drawing up an impact study that would make it clear how possible sanctions would affect EU countries.
According to EU leaders, however, Russia’s actions in Crimea violated international law. In view of that, top EU officials agreed to add 12 more names to the list of Russian and Ukrainian officials under sanctions – thereby bringing their total number to 33. The measures, carried out in partial coordination with Washington, involve freezing assets and issuing travel bans on the individuals concerned.
Fico added that these sanctions will have no impact on the EU countries' economic cooperation with Russia.
"I don't think the political gestures that are being made will affect economic cooperation," said Fico, who arrived at the conference hoping that the EU would not jump into sanctions against Russia too quickly. He discarded the possibility of a scenario that would involve a complete halt in trade with Russia or energy supplies.
"We're not suicidal," Fico concluded.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.
24. Mar 2014 at 14:00