Answer – The future of EU-Russia relations – E-005192/2016
In his speech in St. Petersburg, the Commission President offered the vision of a vast region governed by the rule of law, trading freely and working together on common projects. To get there, the EU and Russia might follow different economic policies but have to live up to their World Trade Organisation obligations and fulfil international commitments on civil and political rights. The President stressed that full implementation of the Minsk Agreement was the only way to lift the economic sanctions that have been imposed by the EU. The sanctions policy in reaction to the illegal annexation of Crimea and to the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine is regularly reviewed. Economic sanctions expiring on 31 July 2016 have been rolled-over by the Council for another six-month period until 31 January 2017. The unity of EU Member States behind the principles underlying EU policy towards Russia was confirmed by the Foreign Affairs Council of 14 March 2016. The EU and the US conduct regular consultations on their respective sanctions policies, including in the framework of G7 which at its 27 May Summit 2016 showed continuing broad consensus that the Minsk Agreement remains the benchmark.