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Italy and Germany threaten to end ‘absurd’ Russia sanctions

The leader of Lega Nord Matteo Salvini will put an end to “absurd” EU sanctions against Russia if he becomes prime minister of the country he said.

Published: April 7, 2018, 9:14 am

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    Salvini, Lega Nord leader, has called for an end to the anti-Russia EU sanctions on social media on Monday.

    Salvini’s appeal follows in the wake of a similar appeal by Ernesto Ferlenghi, the president of Confindustria – a non-profit association which aims to represent, assist, and support Italian companies operating in Russia.

    In an interview with Libero, an Italian newspaper, Ferlenghi called for an end to the sanctions against Russia. “Italian companies can not continue to lose tens of billions for potential orders and market shares, adopting a system of economic sanctions that is putting a strategic partnership between us and Russia in crisis, a partnership which has lasted for over 60 years.”

    Salvini tweeted in response: “I hope, from the government, to soon meet the appeal of the president of Confindustria Russia: stopping these absurd sanctions that are causing incalculable damage to the Italian economy!

    “No more servants of this European Union! Italians first.”

    The centre right alliance in Italy that emerged as the top coalition in the March general election will go to President Sergio Mattarelal together for the second round of government consultations next week.

    Salvini is the favourite premier candidate after winning 17.5 percent of the vote. His anti-migrant League, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI) and Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI) acted on Salvini’s proposal to to go together, rather than separately.

    Making the proposal, Salvini said “I’ll ask Berlusconi and Meloni to go to the consultations together.

    “The only possible government is that of the centre right and the M5S together,” he added, referring to the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, the biggest party in the new parliament after winning around 32 percent of the vote in last month’s inconclusive general election.

    The centre right is the biggest coalition with around 37 percent of the vote.

    Mattarella announced on Thursday that there would be a new consultations next week after this week’s first round failed to produce a possible way out of the country’s apparent political deadlock.

    In Germany too the mood is changing regarding US-imposed sanctions. Foreign Affairs Minister Heiko Maas said: “We are open to dialogue and are counting on building confidence again bit by bit, if Russia is ready to do so.”

    The comments come amid a diplomatic war with Russia ignited by Britain over the Skripal affair. Britain, the United States and its European allies have kicked out more than 150 Russian diplomats in a response to the murky incident, the biggest collective expulsion in history.

    The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) in Germany has meanwhile granted approval for the German exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    The Nord Stream 2 AG received the permit for the construction and operation of the pipeline system in the German EEZ in accordance with the German Federal mining act (BBergG).

    The Stralsund Board of mines had already approved the construction and operation in the German territorial waters.

    “We are pleased that we now have all the necessary permits for a total of 85 kilometre-long German sections of the Route,” Jens Lange, German approvals manager for Nord Stream 2 AG commented.

    These permits are the result of a legal process that began in April 2017 to increase the security of supply and bring more competition in the EU gas market.

    It remains the ecologically and economically most effective way, to transport Russian gas to the consumer with minimal impact on the environment.

    Nordstream 2 can help to achieve the climate objectives as only half as much CO2 is emitted as is the case with the coal-fired power generation.

    The national approval procedures in the other four countries – Russia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark – continue to run on schedule, Russian news agency TASS reported. Further approvals are expected in the next few months. Accordingly, the intended construction works should be implemented as planned in 2018.

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