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Handelsblatt - Germany | Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why Southeast Europe is hesitant on sanctions

The German government is trying to convince non-EU states to also join in with the sanctions against Russia. The liberal business daily Handelsblatt can understand why Southeast Europe is reluctant to pick a fight with Putin: "The Serb foreign minister Ivica Dacic neatly summed up the stance in the region when he said recently that you can't introduce sanctions against someone who is bigger and stronger than you. ... The basic feeling in most states of Southeast Europe is that the EU's sanction policy is a matter for the Germans, French and Americans. ... The EU sanctions against Russia in the maelstrom of the civil war in Ukraine won't stop the plans for the South Stream pipeline from going ahead. ... But the EU knows it would hurt its own interests if it prevented the Eastern European countries from obtaining their urgently needed gas supplies in the long term. Time will work inexorably in favour of a policy of moderation - at the very latest when the cold forces people in Europe to turn on their heating."

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