News / Europe

EU React: Visa Talks Suspension Over Crimea Referendum Plans

Europe Stops Short Of Sanctions Against Russiai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Henry Ridgwell
March 07, 2014 2:23 AM
The European Union is suspending visa talks with Moscow in response to Russia’s into the Ukrainian region of Crimea. The EU is also calling a vote in Crimea’s parliament to break away from Ukraine and join Russia ‘illegal’. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Henry Ridgwell
— The European Union is suspending visa talks with Moscow in response to Russia’s incursion into the Ukrainian region of Crimea. The EU is also calling a vote in Crimea’s parliament to break away from Ukraine and join Russia ‘illegal’.

The European Union describes the crisis in Ukraine as the continent’s most serious challenge to security since the Balkan Wars of the 1990's.

After the heads of state meeting Thursday - also attended by Ukraine’s prime minister - EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy delivered the bloc’s response.

“To suspend bilateral talks with the Russian Federation on visa matters as well as talks with the Russian Federation on the New Agreement.  We support the decision of the European Members of the G-8 and the EU institutions to suspend their participation in G-8 Summit preparations until further notice,” he said.

Van Rompuy demanded that Russia enter negotiations with Ukraine and respect Ukraine's sovereignty in Crimea - or face travel bans and asset freezes.  Russia denies the armed groups that have taken over much of Crimea are members of its armed forces.

“The majority of the people of Ukraine made a decisive choice in favor of our European values.  It was a civilization choice.  Europe must and will support them on the courageous road they have chosen,” he said.

Europe has held off imposing economic sanctions for now.

President Putin is calculating that Europe is divided on the issue, says Elizabeth Stephens, head of risk analysis at insurance brokers Jardine Lloyd Thompson.

“The Germans have the strongest trading ties.  Angela Merkel is very reluctant to impose sanctions. British Prime Minister David Cameron is concerned the city of London would be hit if sanctions were imposed on some of Russia’s oligarchs. I think the biggest challenge is actually the EU speaking with one voice,” she said.

London is a favored destination for Russia’s super-rich, with an estimated 32,000 Russian nationals living in the capital.

Germany’s two-way trade with Russia topped $104 billion in 2013.  Economic giants like Volkswagen have invested heavily in Russia.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated warnings that Moscow would face ‘costs’.  She said that Germany wants to continue its relations with Russia, which obviously are of mutual interest.  But she said what has happened in Ukraine, and particularly what has happened on the Crimean peninsula, deserves a response.

If the crisis escalates, European sanctions could bite hard, says Elizabeth Stephens.

“The wealth in Russia is owned by 110 billionaires who own about 35 percent of the country’s economic resources. They would be the key people to target, and they are the people who have influence over Putin,” said Stephens.

For now, the EU is still threatening, rather than implementing sanctions. Europe, and the world, await President Putin’s response.

You May Like

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid