EU Sanctions Against Russia:
Europe brings a hard edge to its economic power
Kristi Raik, Niklas Helwig & Juha Jokela
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Download PDF (534 Kb)
The EU has responded to the Ukraine crisis with a set of
political and economic sanctions against Russia which constitute a
qualitatively new step in the EU sanctions policy.
The EU sanctions against Russia are exceptional and have
strategic importance due to a combination of three factors: big power rivalry,
the context of a major European crisis with global ramifications, and the costs
of the sanctions for the EU itself. The EU has managed to maintain its fragile
unity and has applied its collective diplomatic and economic weight in very
The sanctions have not provided an alternative to diplomatic
efforts to solve the crisis – on the contrary, hardening sanctions have been
used as a way to put pressure on Russia to seriously engage in diplomacy.
The impact of the sanctions on daily developments in Ukraine
has been limited and uncertain, but the sanctions have imposed a long-term cost
on Russia for violating key international norms.
The policy process of Russia sanctions has exposed problems
of leadership and coordination. The
latest reform of the EU foreign policy machinery has streamlined the
preparation of sanctions, but the current system still lacks the necessary
resources to match the growing importance of the EU sanctions policy.