Italy's Eurosceptic government is pushing for a reduction of tensions between the European Union and Russia but risks isolation in Brussels as EU partners seek instead stronger measures to deter Moscow from interfering in EU affairs.
Russia has been subjected to EU sanctions since the 2014 Ukraine crisis and Rome has long urged a relaxation of the penalties on the grounds that they have hit Italian firms trading with Moscow.In a new pro-Russia thrust, Italy is now calling on EU partners to back a plan to channel EU money to small Russian firms that operate in sectors not covered by existing EU sanctions on banking, defense and the energy industry, three diplomats told Reuters. That initiative preceded a two-day summit of EU leaders started yesterday in Brussels.
Rome is also resisting EU proposals to impose sanctions on countries that carry out cyber-attacks, in another move seen as being in favor of Moscow. Diplomats said the new EU sanctions regime would be aimed mostly at Russia, which has been in recent months at the center of allegations of elections meddling via social media in various Western states, as well as cyber warfare and security breaches conducted through electronic means.
Italy was the only EU member state that openly resisted the new sanctions regime, according to a confidential EU document seen by Reuters.
The diplomatic push in Brussels coincides with a visit of Italy's far right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini to Russia yesterday, the second since he was sworn in four months ago. Salvini, who leads Italy's co-ruling League party, is an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has rejected allegations of Russian meddling in Western elections. Polls show the League has multiplied its supporters in recent months also thanks to hardline slogans against the European Union. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte repeats calls for better relations with Russia. He is planning to fly to Moscow next week.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.