Despite the attitude of European businesses toward the anti-Russian sanctions, EU leaders will not dare to remove them because they fear punitive measures by the United States, Wirtschaftswoche reported.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for the German government to persuade other EU countries to extend the anti-Russian sanctions. For example, Hungary and Greece were initially skeptical about this, but now Austria and Italy are demanding the sanctions to be eased, the German newspaper noted.
In addition, analysts point out that the Germans themselves are not willing to express their unanimous support for the authorities. Public opinion in Germany is split: the West Germans think that Germany's policy towards Russia is moderate and even friendly, the East Germans often come to the conclusion that the government's anti-Russian course is too harsh, the edition wrote.
It is obvious that if the EU weakens the sanctions against Russia, it will be followed by punitive measures from the US. The same situation will occur as it did with Iran when the US threatened anyone who bypassed US sanctions with a fine. As a result, many non-US companies adhered to the sanctions against Iran in order not to damage their own cooperation with the United States, the author recalls.
"And because Washington will stick to sanctions against Russia, the Americans may indirectly dictate Europe to continue the tough anti-Russian policy - regardless of whether Europeans want to adhere to the sanctions or not," Wirtschaftswoche concludes.