European Parliament President Roberta Metsola hinted that the European Union could impose more sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, saying in an interview with RFE/RL that the bloc’s citizens must understand “the price that is being paid for democracy has to continue to be paid.”
Metsola, who spoke with RFE/RL on the sidelines of the European Political Community on October 6 in Prague, said the impact of sanctions imposed thus far is starting to be felt and more could be drafted.
“If you ask the European Parliament, there can always be more sanctions. There can always be more people put on the sanctions list,” she said.
While saying the sanctions “have started to bite,” she added: “Are they enough to bring [Russian President Vladimir] Putin down? Are there enough to make sure that the circle around Putin’s regime actually feels them? I would say that we need to do more,” she said.
The EU’s eighth sanctions package targeting Russia over its war in Ukraine was officially adopted on October 6 after gaining final approval the previous day.
The package, which was formalized in the absence of any objections from the 27 EU members, is meant to deprive Moscow of billions of euros in revenues from the sale of products that the EU says generate significant revenues for Russia.
Metsola, a Maltese politician who has been president of the European Parliament since January, acknowledged there have been concerns over how much longer EU citizens be willing to take the toughest of measures amid soaring energy costs and inflation, but said it’s important that “Ukraine fatigue” does not set in.
The recent “sham” referendums that Russia organized in four occupied territories combined with Putin’s “panicked” military mobilization had the opposite effect, she said.
“I don’t think that fatigue has set in yet,” she added, noting that Europe welcomed 7 million Ukrainians who fled the war.
Metsola also expressed concern about “gaps” in the enforcement of sanctions particularly among some countries that would like to join the EU or are on the path to join.
But she said she would look at all countries in terms of enforcement, whether member states, EU member hopefuls, or EU neighbouring countries.
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